Research lines of the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit (UTE)
1. Experimental modeling of TB.
Design, development and characterization of new experimental models (in vitro, in vivo and in silico) to a) study and better understand TB course: TB infection and progression to active disease and b) better mimic TB in humans.
2. Evaluation of new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against TB.
Mainly through experimental animal models (but also in vitro and in silico models), the UTE has more than 15 years of evaluating new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against TB. Because of this experience, the UTE has become an international reference to evaluate new drug and vaccine candidates, and has been included in several international consortia (funded by the EC and the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation) and contracted by several institutes and biotech & pharma companies (Archivel Farma S.L., Grup Ferrer,GlaxoSmithKline, Statens Serum Institute).
Depending on the final aim of the contractor, we have a wide portfolio of experimental animal models and services to evaluate prophylactic/therapeutic strategies against Tuberculosis, including:
- Effect on survival in a SCID murine model (safety-efficacy): Toxicity model for attenuated vaccines.
- Effect on survival and bacillary load in an active TB murine model (modified-Kramnik model in C3HeB/FeJ mice): Prevention of infection, Prevention of disease, Containment of Latent Tuberculosis
- Effect on the bacillary load in an acute infection murine model: Prevention of infection
- Effect on the bacillary load in a latency murine model: Immunotherapeutic application
- Effect on the lesion dissemination (through High-resolution scanner (TAC) and histology-histometry) and bacillary load in a latency model in minipigs: Immunotherapeutic application.
- Effect on survival and bacillary load in a Multiple Consecutive Infections murine model: Prevention of infection, Prevention of disease, Containment of Latent Tuberculosis
- Histometry analysis of the effect of vaccine candidates in pathology lung samples.
3. Nyaditum resae® (NR) Project.
Development and characterization of the mechanisms of action of the nutraceutical Nyaditum resae® (NR). The NR was designed and successfully transfered to the company Manremyc SL, created adhoc as an spin-off of the Fundació Institut Germans Trias i Pujol and the network CIBER Enfermedades Respiratorias. Pr. Cardona is the CEO of Manremyc SL. For more info please visit Manremyc’s website.
4. Study of the role of inflammation in TB and its modulation through Host-Directed Therapies (HDT).
Description: Study of the role of inflammation in TB and its modulation through Host-Directed Therapies (HDT) in experimental animal models and clinical trials. This research line has been created thanks to the Miguel Servet 1 personal contract awarded to Dr. Vilaplana (CP13/00174). It includes the evaluation in clinical trials of repurposed drugs with anti-inflammatory effect, what has allowed the UTE to be part of the prestigious collaborative network Africa-Europe Host-Directed Therapies Network (HDT-NET).
- Study of TB lesions obtained in surgery: in search of best biomarkers correlating with TB pathology, clinical features, MDR cases and prognostic. In collaboration with the National Center of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NCTLD) of Georgia. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02715271. This project is funded by the Spanish Government-FEDER Funds through the MS13/00174 grant (PI: Dr. Vilaplana), the PI16/01511 (PI: Dr. Vilaplana) and the CIBER Enfermedades Respiratorias Network; and by the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR) through grant 16/023 (PI: Dr. Vilaplana).
- “Pilot Study to estimate the potential efficacy and safety of using Adjunctive Ibuprofen for the Treatment of XDR Tuberculosis”. In collaboration with the National Center of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NCTLD) of Georgia (protocol approved by the correspondent Ethics Committee with code 870/01.17; Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02781909.). This project is funded by the Spanish Government-FEDER Funds through the MS13/00174 grant (PI: Dr. Vilaplana) and the CIBER Enfermedades Respiratorias Network.
5. Development of a radiological score to evaluate the improvement of TB patients.
This study is conducted by Dr. Vilaplana and Dr. Cardona, in collaboration with the Radiology Dept. of the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital (HUGTIP, Dr. Jordi Bechini, Dr. Patricia Cuadras, Dr. Ricard Pérez and Dr. Montse Tenesa) and the Perinatal HIV Research Unit from SouthAfrica (Pr. Neil Martinson and team).
6. Study of the impact of psycho-social factors on TB.
The aim of this research line is to study the impact of psycho-social factors on TB infection and disease course, treatment adherence and TB outcomes, to further design intervention strategies to be implemented in field. We are using a double -quantitative and qualitative- approach.
Staff, students and permanent collaborators:
- P-J Cardona, MD, PhD, Microbiologist. Head of the Unit. pjcardona(at)igtp.cat; pj.cardona(at)gmail.com
- Cris Vilaplana, MD, PhD, Microbiologist, Miguel Servet I researcher. orcid.org/0000-0002-2808-7270; https://www.linkedin.com/in/cristina-vilaplana-b444/; cvilaplana(at)gmail.com and cvilaplana(at)igtp.cat
- Jorge Díaz, responsible of the UTE’s BL3 facility. jortxe(at)gmail.com
- Yaiza Rosales, technician. opf4.yaiza(at)gmail.com
- Eric Garcia, technician. ericgarcia6(at)hotmail.com
- Laura Villegas, administrative assistant. secretary.ute(at)gmail.com
- Gustavo Tapia, MD, Pathologist. Pathology Dept, HUGTIP. gustavotapiam(at)hotmail.com
- Jordi Bechini, MD, PhD, chief of the Radiology Dept, HUGTIP. jbechini.germanstrias(at)gencat.cat
- Ricard Pérez, MD, Radiologist. Radiology Dept, HUGTIP. rperez.germanstrias(at)gencat.cat
- Montse Tenesa, MD, Radiologist. Radiology Dept, HUGTIP. mtenesa.germanstrias(at)gencat.cat
- Marte Singsås Dragset, marte.dragset(at)ntnu.no; in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, thanks to a Norwegian Research Council Grant.
- Paula Cardona, paulacardona29(at)gmail.com
- Lilibeth Arias, lilibethariascruz(at)gmail.com
- Albert Despuig, adespuig(at)gmail.com
- Marta Arch, marta.arch.sisquella(at)gmail.com
We do continuously accept degree, master and other students from very different fields (medical, biomedic, physics, bioengineering), and we often have open PhD positions. Please do not hesitate in checking our blogsite from time to time and feel free to send an email with a single pdf including your CV and a letter of interest to the following address: secretary.ute(at)gmail.com.
This blog is mantained, managed and its content written by Dr Vilaplana & Pr Cardona.