Hospital del Mar Research Institute Hospital del Mar Research Institute

Cell Research on Inflammation and Cartilage Jordi Monfort

Cell Research on Inflammation and Cartilage at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona is a clinical/basic research group comprising members from the Rheumatology Service and the Orthopaedics and Traumatology Unit at Hospital del Mar, as well as research staff from the IMIM itself. At present, the research group is made up of 9 rheumatologists, 4 traumatologists, 1 nurse, 1 psychologist, and 2 biomedical researchers.

The group has been part of the research network on inflammatory diseases, as a clinical support group. This, in turn, is part of the bone and joint physiopathology research unit (URFOA), which has been accredited by the AGAUR as a consolidated research group since 2009, and was reaccredited in the latest call (2017 SGR 502). Given the variety of members in the group, their areas of interest are diverse, but these can be summarised in 3 fundamental lines:

1.- The study of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases:

In this area, the group maintains active collaborations with scientific societies (such as the Spanish and Catalan rheumatology societies), and regional hospitals (including Hospital de la Vall d'Hebron, Hospital Clínic, and Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova) as well as national centres (like Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla). The projects being developed include:

  • Early diagnosis of immune-mediated diseases using imaging techniques: The aim is to improve patient prognosis thanks to therapeutic approaches that can be employed when diagnosing pathologies in their early stages (J. Rheumatol. 2016; 43(9):1631-6; J, Rheumatol. 2014; 41 (8):1623-9) This work is carried out in collaboration with the Hospital del Mar Radiology Service.
  • Study of the physiopathology of other rheumatological diseases: this is focused primarily on lupus (Semin. Arthritis Rheum. 2018; doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.), fibromyalgia (Gene. 2013; 10;512(2):305-8) and osteoporosis (Calcif. Tissue Int. 2010; 86(3):220-6). This area has given rise to 2 PhD theses.
  • Prognostic markers of immune-mediated diseases: this is a new line of research that has been initiated thanks to funding obtained from ISCIII as part of the Health Research sub-programme, as well as from national and regional rheumatology societies, for the project entitled "Prognostic evaluation of the value of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders and a comparison with values in the general population" (PI18/00059). This project involves collaboration with the Research into Innovative Strategies for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases (led by Dr. Maria Grau, a researcher who has been working for the Servetus Programme since 2013), comprising members of the IMIM's Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Genetics group.
  • Multicentre observational studies: the team has taken part in studies on the safety and efficacy of various treatments for this type of pathology, as well as for understanding therapy adherence, the possibility of reducing doses of biopharmaceuticals, and patient immunogenicity.
  • Collaboration in national databases: BIOBADASER AND RELESER.

2.-Study of the physiopathology of osteoarthritis:

The group is involved in studying the physiopathology of osteoarthritis from different perspectives. It is a pioneer in the study of central sensitisation to pain in arthritic patients, observing similarities with fibromyalgia patients. The main research lines in this area are:

  • Components of the cartilage matrix and its degradation: The group has described matrix components not previously located in this tissue (Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2008;16(7):749-755., Sci. Rep. 2018;8(1)) and their possible function, as well as their degradation by proteases present in arthritis pathology (Arthritis Res. Ther. 2006;8(1), Jt Bone Spine 2014;81(2):137-141). In this section the group collaborates with the University of Montreal's Osteoarthritis Research Unit, led by Dr. Pelletier. It has received funding from the Health Research sub-programme (PS09/01341), as well as national and regional rheumatology societies. This area has given rise to 2 PhD theses.
  • Phenotyping of osteoarthritis patients: this line aims to better classify osteoarthritis patients according to their physical, clinical, behavioural, and image characteristics, in order to work in a more directed manner according to the patient's typology. This is being developed in conjunction with the Simulation, Imaging, and Modelling Unit for Biomedical Systems (SYMBioSys) in the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at Pompeu Fabra University. It has received funding from the State Programme for R+D+I aimed at challenges facing society, from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (DPI2016-80283-C2-2-R).
  • Treatments in osteoarthritis: the group works actively in this field, both through its own and collaborative research. In addition, Dr. Monfort is a member of the European Viscosupplementation Consensus Group. The studies have been carried out in collaboration with other international groups (principally the Osteoarthritis Research Unit at the University of Montreal), resulting in scientific articles published in high-impact journals (Ann. Rheum. Dis. 2016;75(1):37-44; Cartilage. 2018 doi: 10.1177/1947603518783455).
  • Central Sensitisation to pain: Our group was the first to characterise the phenomenon of central sensitisation in osteoarthritis and compare it with the patterns obtained in fibromyalgia. This research is carried out in collaboration with the Magnetic Resonance Research Unit at Hospital del Mar (Biomedical Research Networking Centres in Mental Health, CIBERSAM, (Pain 2017; 158(9): 1831-1838; Journal of Rheumatology 2014; 41(11), pp. 2240-2248).

3.- Pathologies of the knee:

The group focuses on research into new approaches to the surgical treatment of knee pathologies, whether a result of trauma, patient morphology, or sport/degenerative activity. The group's lines of research in this field are:

  • Biocompatibility of macroporous supports and mesenchymal stem cells for use in prostheses: this line of research has been consolidated through several projects financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (MAT2004-04980- C02-02, MAT2007-66759-C03-02, MAT2010-21611-C03-02, EC11-436). The researchers have looked at whether the matrix formation of the tissue on which the support is placed is similar in composition and structure to the original tissue, in order to create resorbable prostheses that allow tissue regeneration. (Arthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery 2018; 34(5): 1621-1627, International Journal of Artificial Organs 2015; 38(12): 659-666). These projects are conducted in collaboration with the Centre of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, as well as the Blood and Tissue Bank of Cataloni This area has given rise to various publications and 2 PhD theses.
  • Joint surgery: This clinical group works on improving and evaluating surgical approaches, such as the rebuilding of ligaments, osteotomy, and joint prostheses. This extensive line of research has resulted in publications in high-impact journals (Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy 2018; 26(2): 558-562; Orthopaedics and Traumatology: Surgery and Research 2018; 104(2): 193-196) and 11 PhD theses in the last 5 years.


Jordi Monfort(ELIMINAR)

93 248 32 27

93 248 32 59

Pg Marítim, 25-29
08003 Barcelona

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