#WorldHeartDay: research to prevent cardiovascular diseases

Today is #WorldHeartDay. In Xartec Salut we have different groups researching on Cardiovascular Diseases, working with the aim of improving their prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year acconrding to the World Health Organization.

The start-up Virmedex, born as a research group at CREB UPC and led by Dr. Daniela Tost, provides the next generation of training platforms for high performance risk-aware professionals. The Barcelona based start-up company have designed gamification strategies and serious games for rehabilitation, screening, professional training and other applications. The first product they are bringing to market this October is a cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) training platform that will allow students and healthcare professionals to feel like they are in the operating theatre and understand how to operate the heart-lung machine. With this system they will learn the protocols to be followed and make their own their own decisions, experimenting with only one risk: the end of the game.

Another of our members, Eurecat, has developed ALTERNATIVE, an innovative platform based on aged cardiac tissue model in order to evaluate the environmental toxicology of chemical mixtures. It consists on an in vitro platform with the objective to culture a 3D functional human cardiac tissue to evaluate the cardiotoxicity of chemical compounds and the impact of toxic substances on the population, especially in elderly and people with chronic diseases. It will enable regulators and industry to identify, quantify and prevent cardiotoxic co-exposures to industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals in a cost-effective way. Additionally, the implementation of computational models allows this platform to make predictions on chemical and pharmaceutical substances, avoiding the use of animal testing, providing close-to-real scenario information on toxicity and achieving a significant reduction of the associated direct and indirect costs.

The Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering – Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT) group from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – Barcelona Tech (UPC), led by researcher Carles Alemán, is another of our members working in tissue remodeling and regeneration, specially cardiac and muscle tissue. The IMEM-BRT group’s research activity is oriented towards the design, synthesis, characterization and use of polymeric materials with applications in biomedicine and engineering. From an applied point of view, they have four pillars that support their activity, including the development of materials and devices for tissue regeneration, particularly heart tissue.


This project is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).