José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation
A June that is "unstoppable against leukaemia"

This June the "Unstoppable against leukaemia" campaign took place as part of Leukaemia Week. As well as the TV campaign we told you about and all the graphic material associated with it, the event that took place on Saturday 18 June deserves special mention. Almost a thousand leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other malignant blood disease patients and former patients went out into the streets to raise people's awareness of the issues involved and to ask for their help with this year's research challenge: "The unstoppable cells factory" (+INFO)

If you would like to see all the photos taken on the day, click HERE


The European Commission has funded the Marie Sklodowska Curie Training network ‘ChroMe: Chromatin-metabolism interactions as targets for healthy living’ with 3.8 million Euros. The goal of the network is to train 15 PhD students in the field emerging at the intersection between chromatin and metabolic regulation. The participating institutions come from academia and industry and include the Max-Planck-Society, the Imperial College London, the Karolinska Institute and the Nesté Institute of Health. The network will be coordinated by Prof. Andreas Ladurner assisted by Dr. Marcus Buschbeck who will act as vice-coordinator.

ChroMe’s research goals are to understand how chromatin is steered by metabolism to sustain health or cause disease, and to exploit our new knowledge and expertise to develop new therapies.

The recruitment of PhD students started at the end of May. More info on the available PhD projects will soon be available on the IJC website and the webpage of the network:


The pharmaceutical company CELGENE will support a research project, led by Dr. Francesc Solé, that is being carried out at the three IJC campuses

Last May the pharmaceutical company CELGENE approved a contribution of €157,200 towards the project entitled, IDH1/2 Mutational analysis in AML patients. Diagnosis and follow-up, led by Dr. Francesc Solé, scientific director of the Catalan Institute for Oncology/Germans Trias i Pujol Campus.

The project consists of determining the mutational state of the IDH1 and IDH2 genes so as to be able to select patients with acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML) and the mutated IDH1 and/or IDH2 gene who could be candidates for treatment with a specific drug.

Researchers and doctors at the three IJC campuses are taking part in the project: Dr. Jordi Esteve from the University of Barcelona Hospital Clínic Campus; Dr. Jordi Sierra, Dr. Josep Nomdedeu and Dr. Marta Pratcorona from the Sant Pau Campus; and Dr. Lurdes Zamora, Dr. Elisa Orna, Dr. Mar Mallo, Laura Palomo, Pamela Acha, Paula Gómez, Nuria de Haro, Neus Solanes and Francisco Fuster from the ICO-GTiP Campus. Samples will be from patients diagnosed at the three campuses and centres belonging to the collaborating group CETLAM. At the Sant Pau Campus the genes will be determined by means of pyrosequencing and those patients presenting mutations in the IDH1 and/or IDH2 genes will be studied by means of mass spectrometry at the Campus Clínic and by means of next generation sequencing (NGS) at the ICO-GTIP Campus with a panel of implicated genes from patients with a myeloid pathology. The NGS study should show the molecular profile of patients with IDH1 and/or IDH2 mutation. The project will last, initially, for two years with 100 patients per year being studied. 

Dr. Jordi Petriz, lead researcher in the Functional Cytometry Group, takes part in the Barcelona Stem Cell Day conference organised by the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB)

Dr. Jordi Petriz took part in the Barcelona Stem Cell Day conference, held on 1 June, and gave a paper entitled, Stem Cell Characterization using Flow Cytometry.

Dr. Petriz explained that despite our knowledge of blood production and transplantation biology, technology still does not enable us to know which is the real stem cell. There might be only one per litre of blood, something that very much hinders its study. When this stem cell divides it makes an identical copy of itself and then remains dormant while the daughter cell continues to expand and differentiate to make more and more blood.

In the laboratory Dr. Petriz employs very sensitive methodologies to detect cells that represent only the tiniest fraction of those in the human body and it is hoped that in the future the way will be cleared to identify the real stem cell in adults and determine whether they remain with us from birth and throughout our lives.

On 7 and 8 June Dr. Petriz also participated in two webinars on stem cells organised by Wiley. Some 12,000 registered European and US researchers took part!

Dr. Ruth M. Risueño and the pre-doctoral researchers on her team, Amaia Etxabe and Josep Maria Cornet-Masana, have published a chapter entitled, Biological and Therapeutic Implications of Cancer Stem Cells in the book, Frontiers in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research

Nowadays, most tumors follow the cancer stem cell (CSC) model, where the growth and progression of cancers are driven by a distinctive subpopulation of cancer stem cells, a group of cells within a tumor that have stem cell-like properties, and are thought to be responsible for cancer initiation, progression, metastasis, recurrence and drug resistance. Therefore, targeting CSC is necessary to eliminate cancer; otherwise, these cells would be able to regenerate the tumor leading to relapse.  Over the past years, a great effort has been invested in increasing the knowledge of the biology of CSCs and the development of new compounds and repositioning of already approved drugs that selectively target CSCs. This book chapter extensively reviewed the last discoveries regarding the cellular mechanisms responsible for CSCs and new therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Ruth M. Risueño awarded the National Plan prize of €201,586

The National Plan prize that has been awarded was based on the study of the role played by neuron receptors in acute myeloid leukaemia and other hematologic diseases. Over a four-year period the role of these receptors at the outset of the disease, during its continuation and finally, in cases of relapse, will be studied. New drugs will also be sought to act against them and preclinical trials will be held to evaluate the potential of these new drugs to combat leukaemia. 

Visit by Dr. Norma Gutiérrez

Dr. Norma Gutiérrez, associate doctor in hematology at Salamanca hospital and lead researcher in the Multiple Myeloma Group at the Biomedical Research Institute of Salamanca (IBSAL), came to visit on 30 May and gave a paper entitled, Genomics in multiple myeloma at the IJC's ICO-Germans Trias i Pujol Campus.

We took the opportunity to have an interview with her. 

- You can read the interview with Dr. Gutiérrez HERE

Dr. Carreras has published the new Patients' bone marrow transplantation guide

Dr. Enric Carreras's new guide for patients is now available and contains all the latest information about bone marrow transplantation. The document will be available from the Foundation's website and it focuses on patients who need to have the maximum amount of information possible before undergoing a transplant. Congratulations Dr. Carreras for this great work.

You can read it HERE

REDMO goes to Singapore

This year Singapore was the exotic setting for the meetings, at the end of May and the beginning of June respectively, of the World Marrow Donor Association and the International Donor Registry Conference.

Both meetings were attended by the director of the Bone Marrow Donor Register (REDMO), Dr. Enric Carreras, the register's general coordinator, Núria Marieges and our IT chief, Mario Gran. The issues focusing the attention of our representatives included donation safety, quality standards in register accreditation and the implementation of a single donor code. 

Awareness-raising day at the Banc de Sabadell

As part of Leukaemia Week an awareness-raising day was held at the corporate headquarters of the Banc de Sabadell in Sant Cugat. It took the form of a quiz in which two representatives of the bank's various departments tested their knowledge about bone marrow donation by answering questions before hearing replies from the Register Coordinator, Núria Marieges.

As well as this awareness-raising day the Banc Sabadell also held an auction of items donated by well-known personalities and a sale of the traditional cakes known as Coques de Sant Joan, that are eaten at this time of year as part of the festivities associated with the celebration of midsummer eve and Saint John's day. The funds raised were donated to the Foundation. 

Óscar, project manager at the IJC, takes up our challenge

Óscar Fraile, project manager at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, has joined our "Unstoppable cells factory" campaign with his own Migranodearenacrowdfunding challenge: to run 1,000 km in the shortest time possible to add kilometres to the "race against leukaemia ".

Óscar's idea sprang from the realisation that scientific research receives insufficient funding. "I wanted to do something other than complain about the lack of funding in our country", he said, "to help someone, albeit only a little".

Please help Óscar to achieve his goal, by doing so you'll also be helping us to achieve our "Unstoppable cells factory" campaign. You can make a donation here: Thank you Óscar!

Solidarity wedding

Marina and Jaume are two newlyweds committed to helping in the fight against leukaemia. They were married on 28 May and they wanted their wedding to be even more special so they donated €1,500 to our Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute project. All of us at the Foundation wish them every future happiness! 

"1 motivo, mil razones" (1 motive, a thousand reasons)

Lydia and Rubén are, like many others, unstoppable parents. When their son Mateo was only one month old he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Unfortunately, after eight months of life and a bone marrow transplant he was unable to overcome the disease.

For his parents Mateo was always their hero, their "happy man" from whom they learnt a lot. It is with this slogan that Lydia and Rubén have designed the T-shirts they have put on sale to raise funds for our Foundation. They are doing it for Mateo, their motive, and for the approximately thousand children who are diagnosed with cancer every year in Spain.

Have a look at the “Happy man” T-shirts here!:

Sponsored walk

The pupils and teachers of the Infanta Cristina de Provencio and Tomás de la Fuente Jurado primary and secondary schools organised a sponsored walk to raise funds for our Foundation by donating the enrolment fee directly to us. The initiative was a great success and raised €1,275 towards the fight against leukaemia!

The unstoppable Villalkor school!

For the last three years the Villalkor school in Madrid has been holding fund-raising events to raise the awareness of its pupils about social projects and, of course, to raise funds for the fight against leukaemia. This year they sold the books which their parents had given previously and thanks to this they managed to raise €2,671. For another year running this school continues to be unstoppable against leukaemia!