Interview with dr. Montserrat García Balletbó

The Spanish Medicines Agency has just made public a report in which it points out the value of Growth Factors as a therapy and normalizes their application. The decision is the result of a decade of research and clinical experimentation in biological medicine. Some of the key research on these treatments, in veterinary and human, has been carried out within the framework of the García Cugat Foundation. The Foundation has also signed an agreement with the CEU Cardenal Herrera University for the creation of a Chair of Regenerative Medicine.

For the Foundation, says its President, Dr. Montserrat García Balletbó – it means to make public all the work we have been developing since 2004 in regenerative medicine and advanced therapies based on biology. On the other hand, academic recognition opens up the possibility of systematizing training in what, we are convinced, will be the medicine of the future that is already beginning to become a reality in the present. It’s R&D in biological therapies.

The results we are getting makes us becoming more and more confident in the path started.

Growth factors and stem cell treatments, as a priority in research.

In these years the foundation has served to begin filling the gap that existed in relation to scientific evidence especially in topics such as Growth Factors, the potential of cells to solve health problems and slow down degenerative processes, etc. In this way several thesis and 5 doctoral theses have been carried out, from different angles, on the effectiveness of growth factors. Currently there are 4 other theses in preparation that already include stem cell treatments.

The fruit of the Foundation’s research has been presented at numerous international medical meetings and published in important scientific journals…

Biological therapies are a challenge around the world and the work we are doing in Spain is serving to provide key information in its development and advancement around the world.

The Foundation has managed to lead the debate on the validity of these biological therapies because we are demonstrating their effectiveness.

They are therapies that by their novelty still cause some controversy and it is true that it is not easy to introduce new concepts to respond to health problems that for many have received a treatment determined fully accepted by society. For example, no one questions that to deal with an osteoarthritis problem is solved by the placement of a prosthesis. However, regenerative medicine opens the way for our own body to find solutions to these arthrotic degenerations. The important thing is that when the degenerative process is started treatment is applied.

It is also interesting to consider the issue of costs. Let’s follow the example of osteoarthritis… it’s a health problem that affects a large part of the population… pharmacological costs and health equipment costs are very high, it is a major challenge for these biological therapies to reduce this high cost, and it is feasible.

Biological medicine poses a radical change in the care of our health

We have the challenge of changing the mindset, thinking about our bodies in a comprehensive and holistic way.

Using proteins, tissue and cell inducers can solve and avoid pathological processes and it means the possibility of solving injuries with the body’s own resources, as well as adding years with a higher quality of life.

One of the great revolutions of the 20th century was the discovery of antibiotics. The discovery of Rita Levi Montalcini’s Growth Factors along with the discovery of McCulloch and Till’s stem cells are the foundations of the revolution in new therapies of this 21st century.

What kind of diseases are you working on?

The lines of research initiated treatments with Proteins (Growth Factors), Scaffolds (inducers) and Mesenchymal Cells derived from the bone marrow and adipose tissue cultivated and une cultivated.

And they work on muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage, bone and skin injuries.

The results obtained have been especially valued in sports medicine

Indeed, some of the work carried out so far by the Foundation has had a challenge to solve common problems among athletes. In ligament and tendon injuries, biological medicine has been shown especially effective at curbing its degenation.

We have also conducted studies showing that growth factors are not a doping substance used correctly in the treatment of lesions.

And the García Cugat Foundation has been a pioneer in the use of Growth Factors for skin regeneration

Skin lesions also benefit from these biological therapies… scars, sores, wounds.

The benefit is noticeable not only in traumatic situations. The use of biological therapies is causing a change of concept in anti-aging medicine.

The application of biological substances in beauty treatments is at the opposite angle to the application that for years has been made of toxic substances that although they have a positive input effect to erase the traces of time, remain a double-edged sword.

What does the creation of the new chair mean?

Alongside research, one of our goals is training. The new chair will be a particularly suitable space for this purpose. I am convinced that it will contribute to the preparation of professionals so that biological therapies are no longer considered an exceptional treatment and begin to be offered on a regular basis.


Previous work

In 2002 the study of Biological Therapies with Proteins: Growth Factors began.

From 2003 to 2005 a multidisciplinary research group consisting of doctors, veterinarians and pharmacists was created and the Clinical application of Growth Factors obtained by the system developed by Biotechnology Institute began.

2007 Formal creation of the García Cugat Foundation

Several doctoral theses on Growth Factors are prepared.

2010 initiation of research on stem cell therapies in treatments of anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage injuries.