Scientific programmes

The general objective of the IMIBIC’s “Active Ageing and Frailty” scientific programme is to advance in the knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of age-associated deterioration (senescence) in different organs and systems and develop strategies to promote healthy ageing and prevent frailty, as well as search for strategies to assist and care for the elderly from a health anthropology approach.

The general objective of our programme is to generate new knowledge in the fields of nutrition, metabolic diseases and neuroendocrinology with a view to preventing and improving the management of health disorders related to each of these areas. The world is currently witnessing an epidemic of nutrition-related diseases, particularly metabolic syndromes associated with obesity. Despite active research and the important advances that have been made, we still do not know the exact causes or underlying mechanisms of these diseases or how to effectively prevent and treat them. Given that these processes are closely linked to life expectancy, quality of life, well-being and the sustainability of the National Health System, their study is of crucial importance. Moreover, the intraindividual behavioural variability of people who live in the same environment is related to varying degrees of disease susceptibility and severity.

Certain factors that contribute to susceptibility are already known or suspected, such as the genetic substrate, epigenetic components and the mechanisms involved in the neuroendocrine regulation of appetite, in addition to molecular biological mechanisms, such as oxidative stress, inflammation or hypoxia response. For this reason, a key objective of our programme is to conduct research based on a multidisciplinary approach to the concept of precision medicine. By integrating clinical and molecular information, we can identify the qualities that make each individual unique and will be able to provide personalized medicine in the future. This is especially important in the management of diabetes and neuroendocrine tumours, which are key objectives of our programme. A further priority of our scientific activity and effort is to foster synergies, promote talent and employability in the National Health System and accelerate the transfer and translationality of our research findings, thus contributing to the creation of wealth.

Our programme aims to develop a common line of quality research on health problems related to host-pathogen interactions focusing on the study of infectious diseases, immunological diseases and diseases in organ transplantation.

The objective of this research line is to achieve results that can be applied to and influence the clinical practice of biohealth professionals with a view to enhancing patients’ quality of life and the overall well-being of society. To achieve this, it is crucial to strengthen alliances between the groups involved in the programme at the regional, national or international levels and/or with public or private entities in order to ensure successful requests for research projects, promote the creation of spin-offs by members of the research groups and establish solid foundations that support the training and stabilization of researchers through concrete and effective actions. Such actions will guarantee that the project milestones are reached in the framework of a translational approach targeted at improving the quality of patient care, either through the technology transfer of results to industry or their application in clinical practice guidelines.

Despite the increasing number of patients diagnosed with cancer, mortality is decreasing in both sexes and in most tumours as a result of treatment advances, preventive measures and early diagnosis. For this reason, IMIBIC’s transversal cancer research programme is aimed at advancing knowledge of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, with a specific focus on contributing to the development of personalized or precision medicine in cancer.

The increasing life expectancy of the population is directly related to a higher incidence and prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases. These diseases deteriorate patients’ quality of life and have a significant impact on their role in society. In addition, patients with these conditions receive chronic treatment, which causes a substantial financial strain on healthcare budgets. For these reasons, the main objective of this programme is to address chronic disease in three ways. Firstly, through broadening the knowledge of and characterising the molecular mechanisms underlying chronic inflammatory diseases. Secondly, and based on this new knowledge, by seeking new therapeutic strategies to improve the prognosis and development of the disease. And lastly, but not less importantly, through the development of new strategies to prevent or delay the onset or evolution of this type of disease.