The IVECAT group (Innovation in VEsicles and Cells for Application in Therapy) was founded in February 2002, when Francesc E Borràs joined the Immunology Laboratory at the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital on the Can Ruti Biomedical Campus, in Badalona. From initial studies on dendritic cells, the group shifted its basic research to "cell-free" models and concentrating on extracellular vesicles as therapeutic players.  This research has the ultimate goal of transferring knowledge to Society. To bring this about, the scientific interests of the research group focus on two priority areas of research.

  • Development of new strategies for the improvement in the objective diagnosis of diseases/pathologies
  • Research in the field of preventive and therapeutic cell & "Cell-free" advanced therapies for immunomodulation and regenerative medicine

The IVECAT group is included within the REMAR Group (from the name in Catalan, REcerca en Malalties d'Afectació Renal, or Kidney Related Diseases Research Group) is a multidisciplinary group including more than 25 professionals from the Germans Trias University Hospital (HUGTP) and the IGTP - including doctors, biologists, veterinarians, biochemists and biotechnologists. The group was recognized as an emerging group (2014SGR804) and as a Pre-consolidated group (2017SGR301) by the Government of Catalonia.

IVECAT carries out projects both in conjunction with REMAR and independently.


See the IVECAT publications

Members of the Group

Francesc E Borràs(ELIMINAR), Group Leader

Marcella Franquesa Bartolome(ELIMINAR), Principal Investigator

Marta Clos Sansalvador(ELIMINAR), Pre-doctoral Student

Sergio Garcia Garcia(ELIMINAR), Pre-doctoral Student

Miriam Moron Font(ELIMINAR), Nurse/Technician

Research lines

1. Non-invasive Biomarkers

PI: Francesc E. Borràs & Marcella Franquesa

This line of research has a clear translational vocation aiming to improve the quality of life of patients, defining new approaches to avoid or reduce the need on invasive techniques such as biopsies. In this regard, the group is developing several studies to define these new strategies in diverse pathological processes, including renal fibrosis, polycystic kidney disease, dialysis complications, among other pathologies.

Related Projects: PI19/00837, CI19/00048

2. Mesenchymal Stem Cells

PIs: Marcella Franquesa & Francesc E. Borràs

This line of research derives from the interest of our group in the development of basic research projects with a medium-long term translational vision. In this regard, the group has developed in recent years different funded proposals in order to explore more deeply the therapeutic potential of cell therapy (such as mesenchymal stem cells or regulatory B cells) and new approaches. of "cell-free" therapies, including harnessing of extracellular vesicles.

Related Projects: PI20/00097, RED2018-102411-T, PI17/00335, SAF2015-71231-REDT

Research Projects

Size-exclusion chomatography (SEC) isolated MSC-derived Extracellular Vesicles to pReVEnT the progression of chronic kidney disease- SERVET 

PI: Marcella Franquesa
Funding Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Reference: PI20/00097
Start date: 01/01/2021
End date: 31/12/2023

Urine extracellular vesicles and graft elastography: Combining molecular and imaging techniques for the non-invasive diagnosis of chronic kidney graft dysfunction (EV-mage)

PI: Francesc E. Borràs; Javier Juega
Funding Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Reference: PI19/00837
Start date: 01/01/2020
End date: 31/12/2022

Fibrokit - Urine Extracellular Vesicles based diagnosis for Non-invasive monitoring of renal dysfunction and fibrosis grade

PI: Francesc E Borras

Funding Agency: Obra Social Fundación la Caixa
Reference: CI19/00048
Start date: 01/01/2020
End date: 31/12/2021


- Research

Mesenchymal stem cells reveal mechanisms of action in regulatory B cells independent of interleukin-10 useful for their identification and monitoring

Researchers from the REMAR-IVECAT ("Kidney Related Diseases Research" and "Innovation in VEsicles and Cells for Application in Therapy") group, from the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), identify molecular pathways in regulatory B cells that are essential for their therapeutic applications. In the article that has been recently published in Frontiers in Immunology, the use of mesenchymal stem cells has allowed distinguishing the molecules that are essential to monitoring regulatory B cells in kidney transplants. 

- Research

Sugars steer stem cell extracellular vesicles to epithelial cells

Researchers at the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP) discover new facets of the biology of extra-cellular vesicles that will advance their use in therapies. In an article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences they describe the importance of glycosylation for the interactions between extracellular vesicles from mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial cells.

+ News


Francesc E. Borràs (Principal Investigator)

(+34) 93 033 05 26