The multidisciplinary Immunology of Diabetes research group at IGTP is part of the Immunology Section of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (HUGTiP). The group is made up of researchers, endocrinologists, paediatricians and technicians. It works to understand more about the causes of type 1 diabetes. The research of the group is focused on translational research: Immunotherapies for the prevention and treatment of Type 1 diabetes, pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmunity and paediatric type 1 diabetes: tolerance, spontaneous remission and biomarkers. The goal of its researchers is to contribute to therapeutic intervention in type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.

The group leader, Marta Vives-Pi (MSc, PhD), has been leading national and international research projects since 1996, with special interest on the development of immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases. M. Vives-Pi is Associate Professor of Immunology (UAB) and co-founder and Scientific Director of Ahead Therapeutics SL, a spin-off company set up to transfer the immunotherapy generated by the group to the clinical arena for autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Type 1 diabetes, autoimmunity, immunotherapy, nanoparticles, biomarker.

Immunology of Diabetes research group

Research lines

Immunotherapies for the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases

The line of research aims to stop the autoimmune response using innovative therapies to re-establish the cellular tolerance of the insulin-producing cells.

Pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes

This line of research aims to identify the mechanisms of the specific immune responsible for destruction of insulin-producing beta cells, with special atention to prenatal environmental factors.

Paediatric type 1 diabetes: tolerance, spontaneous remission and biomarkers

The aim of this line is to explore mechanisms of tolerance restablishment in children at the onset of the disease, and to define new biomarkers of remission.

Active projects

Valorización de una terapia antígeno-específica para el tratamiento disruptivo de la diabetes tipo 1; esclerosis múltiple, miastenia gravis, enfermedad celíaca

PI: Marta Vives-Pi
Funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Agencia Estatal de Investigación
Agency code: CPP2021-008475
Start date: 10/02/2022
End date: 31/12/2025

Proyecto CPP2021-008475 de investigación financiado por MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 y por la Unión Europea NextGenerationEU/ PRTR

A new dawn for type 1 diabetes: Combining a nanotherapy to halt autoimmunity with beta-cell regeneration

PI: Marta Vives-Pi
Funding agency: Fundació La Marató de TV3
Agency code: 201632_10
Start date: 01/03/2017
End date: 29/02/2020


 Biomarcadores de remisión parcial en pacientes con diabetes tipo 1. Aplicación en monitorización inmunológica y ensayos clínicos

PI: Marta Vives-Pi
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: PI18/00436
Start date: 01/01/2019
End date: 31/12/2021

Terapia contra la autoinmunidad para la prevención y la curación de la diabetes tipo 1. Nanopartículas tipo liposoma que re-educan el sistema inmunológico para permitir la regeneración de las células beta

PI: Marta Vives-Pi
Funding agency: Fundación DiabetesCERO
Agency code: Cer001
Start date: 01/06/2017
End date: 31/05/2019


Scientific publications

Gomez-Muñoz L, Perna-Barrull D, Caroz-Armayones JM, Murillo M, Rodriguez-Fernandez S, Valls A, Vazquez F, Perez J, Corripio R, Castaño L, Bel J, Vives-Pi M. Candidate Biomarkers for the Prediction and Monitoring of Partial Remission in Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes. Front Immunol. 2022 Feb 23;13:825426. DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.825426.

Perna-Barrull D, Murillo M, Real N, Gomez-Muñoz L, Rodriguez-Fernandez S, Bel J, Puig-Domingo M, Vives-Pi M. Prenatal Betamethasone Exposure and its Impact on Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: A Preliminary Study in a Spanish Cohort. J Diabetes Res. 2022 Mar 10;2022:6598600. DOI: 10.1155/2022/6598600.

Perna-Barrull D, Gomez-Muñoz L, Rodriguez-Fernandez S, Gieras A, Ampudia-Carrasco RM, Almenara-Fuentes L, Risueño RM, Querol S, Tolosa E, Vives-Pi M. Impact of Betamethasone Pretreatment on Engrafment of Cord Blood-Derived Hematopoietic Stem Cells. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2022 Dec 18;71(1):1. DOI: 10.1007/s00005-022-00666-5.

Almenara-Fuentes L, Rodriguez-Fernandez S, Rosell-Mases E, Kachler K, You A, Salvado M, Andreev D, Steffen U, Bang H, Bozec A, Schett G, Le Panse R, Verdaguer J, Dalmases M, Rodriguez-Vidal S, Barneda-Zahonero B, Vives-Pi M. A new platform for autoimmune diseases. Inducing tolerance with liposomes encapsulating autoantigens. Nanomedicine. 2023 Feb;48:102635. DOI: 10.1016/j.nano.2022.102635.

Marta Vives Pi’s publications

Ahead Therapeutics

Ahead Therapeutics is a start-up biotech company that uses a proprietary technology to develop treatments for different autoimmune disorders. It has developed an innovative solution based on the use of PS-liposomes containing autoantigens. Through a biomimetic process, these liposomes can induce antigen-specific immune tolerance, thereby interrupting the autoimmune reaction.

Simply by changing the encapsulated autoantigen, Ahead's technology can address the treatment of different auto-immune diseases: type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and celiac diseases, among others. Despite its potential for preventive use, Ahead's treatment is mainly foreseen as a reverse therapeutic vaccine, leading to a permanent cure of the disease.

More information on their web


- Research, Innovation

Progress in developing specific immunotherapies for type 1 diabetes

Researchers from IGTP and Ahead Therapeutics have been exploring a treatment based on liposome-type nanoparticles to address the autoimmunity of type 1 diabetes for years. A study recently published in the Journal of Autoimmunity examines the response of macrophages to this immunotherapy, serving as a preliminary step before clinical trials.

Can Ruti celebrates a Rare Disease Day symposium highlighting the importance of research to help patients

On Thursday 29 February, the Germans Trias Hospital hosted the 'International Rare Disease Day Symposium'. Health professionals and researchers from the Hospital and IGTP discussed their work in advancing the field of rare diseases. Representatives from patient associations of these diseases also participated.

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Marta Vives-Pi

(+34) 93 554 30 50 extn 6380 & 6381