José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation
Dr. Feliu, appointed member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia

On 28 February we attended a public ceremony at the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia held to admit Dr. Feliu as a full member of the Academy.

Dr. Feliu gave an address entitled, On the importance of civil society for a country's wellbeing and later, to mark the event, guests were offered a cold collation and other refreshments in the Institute of Catalan Studies courtyard.


Dr. Pablo Menéndez's team publishes an article in the prestigious journal CANCER RES on the effects of mutations of the KRAS gene in lymphoblastic leukaemia with MLL-AF4 fusion

MLL-AF4 translocation is the genetic marker that characterises acute lymphoblastic leukaemia B (ALL-B) which is especially aggressive, commonly affects children under the age of one, and which responds poorly to treatment with chemotherapy, survival rates for this disease being less than 30%.

Thus far it has not been possible to generate a study model for this leukaemia and consequently it can not be known for sure whether the MLL-AF4 fusion is capable of generating the disease "by itself" o whether, on the contrary, it requires the presence of another second mutation to trigger the leukaemia process. Thanks to the study of these patients' genomes we know that in 40% of cases there is a mutation of the KRAS gene and that, furthermore, this mutation is associated with a worse prognosis.

The aim of this study was therefore to examine the effect of the KRAS gene mutation in combination with MLL-AF4 to discover whether the two collaborate in the leukaemia process. In vivo and in vitro trials have shown that the KRAS gene and MLL-AF4 do not cooperate to generate leukaemia, despite the fact that KRAS mutation increases the cells' ability to migrate, thereby inducing a high level of leukocytosis and affecting the extramedullary tissues (the liver, spleen and peripheral blood) and infiltrating the central nervous system. In summary, the results obtained from the study show that the KRAS gene does not cooperate with the MLL-AF4 at the beginning of the leukaemia process, but that it acquires an important role in maintaining the tumour and its most aggressive characteristics. 

Natàlia Estrada awarded a FI-AGAUR grant

Natàlia works in the field of chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms (CMPN), a group of blood diseases characterised by the excess production of one or more kinds of blood cell leading to their accumulation in the bone marrow and the blood.

The grant she has received is the FI-AGAUR grant, awarded by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia). The grant consists of a three-year pre-doctoral contract which will enable her to start her doctoral thesis at the IJC as part of the CMPN group, under the direction of Dr. Blanca Xicoy and Dr. Lurdes Zamora.

The thesis will focus on the study of the molecular and genetic mechanisms of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), one of the kinds of CMPN. The aim is to gain greater control over the disease and to study the possible ways by which the malignant stem cell of this blood disease manages to survive. 

The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, specifically its line of research into myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), led by Dr. Francesc Solé, is participating, together with many other leading international organisations, in the MDS Diagnosis project. This is an online support platform to establish a precise myelodysplastic syndrome diagnosis. Precision in the diagnosis is key for the evaluation of the prognosis and for planning the most suitable treatment on a case by case basis. This digital platform is intended for both hematologists and pathologists to help them identify and diagnose myelodysplastic syndromes, in general as well as specific cases, because it is a disease which is often quite difficult to identify. Prof. Ulrich Germing, whom we interviewed some months ago (read here), is the internationally renowned scientist who set this platform up. Forming part of it as a member of its scientific committee is Dr. Francesc Solé, together with other world authorities in this field, all of whom contribute to the website content with their own works and presentations. +Info

Epigenetic information is written in the chromatin, the fundamental substance of a cell nucleus. But how do the epigenetic mechanisms operate at a molecular level? How do they affect chromatin alterations in the differentiation between healthy and sick cells? How does the environment affect these processes?

These are some of the questions being asked in Dr. Marcus Buschbeck's laboratory at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC) in Badalona. This research team is focused on the molecular aspects of epigenetic regulation and whether it is possible to convert this knowledge into a tool for diagnosis or therapy for the treatment of diseases such as leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Read more here

A new channel of communication for bone marrow donors

This month REDMO launched a short message service (SMS) for bone marrow donors.

With this new channel of communication donors will receive a message welcoming them (in addition to the letter they receive through the post) and to inform them that they are now inscribed on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

This new channel establishes an easier and more direct contact with the Registry's donors should the need to contact them arise. 

Logo REDMO newsletter ANGLES
REDMO participates in the annual meeting of the hematopoietic precursor transplantation subcommittee

This annual meeting was held at the Ministry of Health on 9 February and was attended by Dr. Enric Carreras and Núria Marieges.

REDMO's statistics for 2015 were presented at the meeting and showed that, with regard to data concerning initiating a search and the subsequent performance of a hematopoietic precursor transplant, there was no great difference in comparison to 2014. There were fewer transplants from units of umbilical cord blood but this was compensated for by the number of bone marrow and peripheral blood transplants. (Next month we will publish the final Report with all the information in detail).

It should be mentioned that fewer hematopoietic precursor transplants are performed in Spain than would be expected, given the size of its population. Furthermore, there are notable differences between the Autonomous Communities. In 2015, in order to address this issue, a series of courses was approved for non-transplant hematologists to train them in the field of hematopoietic precursor transplantation. Since then such courses have been held in Madrid, Malaga and Zaragoza.

The Josep Carreras Foundation sponsors and participates in the Patient Family and Donor Day Symposium

The Patient Family and Donor Day Symposium, organised by the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT), will be held on 2 April at the Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe in Valencia.

The symposium is divided into three sessions. The first will deal with medical aspects concerning hematopoietic precursor transplantation; the second will be more closely focused on the ethical issues concerning transplantation as it is practiced around the world; and the third session will explain the social and psychological impact for patients who must undergo a transplant of hematopoietic precursors.

During the second session Dr. Carreras will give a paper entitled Transplant activity around the world. Hematopoietic stem cell donation. REDMO.


A very special golden wedding anniversary

Two of the Foundation's partners decided to mark their golden wedding anniversary by supporting the Foundation. Henk and Michellinne's more than 50-year love story was something they wanted to celebrate in a special way.

Instead of presents for themselves they decided on something different. Micheline told all their guests how they could contribute to the fight against leukaemia, so the presents on this occasion went straight to the Foundation in the form of direct donations. Thanks to their love story and their support €1,500 was raised to help our cause. 

Music against leukaemia

The Hermandad de la Exaltación in Seville organised a fund-raising concert to pay homage to Sonia Gallardo, one of the sisters in their community who had died as a result of leukaemia. Thanks to this heartfelt gesture €2,000 were raised for our Foundation. 

Fund-raising dance

The MªJosé Bust de Peralta Dance Academy in Navarre raised €1,790 at a fund-raising performance they held to help fight against leukaemia

All the students at the Academy, adults and children, could take part by doing what comes naturally to them, dancing to help others.

Ahorro Corporacion ANG
Our Foundation receives the second "Saving for Solidarity" prize

The Ahorro Corporación has a "Saving for Solidarity" programme through which it collaborates every year with one of the charitable activities in which its employees are actively involved. Since 1999 this collaboration has been in the form of donating all the money deposited in the drinks machines to the various NGOs proposed by their employees. 

Laura Sáez-Bravo, an active member of the Foundation and one of the company's employees, thought of us and so we prepared a "Saving for Solidarity" proposal by presenting a project called "Reception Apartments".

As a result of this initiative we won the second prize and €5,000 will go towards the maintenance of our apartments, which help patients who have to move far away from their homes to receive treatment for leukaemia. Thank you!

"Regala Somriures" (Give Someone a Smile) to fight against leukaemia, thanks to Bonpreu and Esclat

This is the striking name of a campaign by the Bonpreu and Esclat supermarkets to give a smile to those who most need one. For just €1 you can buy a postcard at their establishments and all the funds thus raised will go to help our cause.

The postcards have a smile drawn on them that will cheer their recipients up, because it is a nice gesture and an act of solidarity. With every postcard sold a direct donation is made to our Foundation to help us continue being UNSTOPPABLE in the fight against leukaemia.

You too could give smiles to your friends and family!