Experimental Tuberculosis Unit (UTE)

Cristina Vilaplana

The Experimental Tuberculosis Unit (UTE) is a research group from the IGTP associated to the Microbiology Deptment of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (HUGTIP) and the Genetics and Microbiology Departments of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The group was founded in 1997 by Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona to study tuberculosis (TB) and is now led by Dr Cris Vilaplana. In recent past years the unit has specialized in the field of design and evaluation of new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against TB and tools to monitor its course, as well as the study of the disease from a multidisciplinary point of view from bench to bedside. This 20-years experience has led to the point of being considered internationally recognized experts in the field of infectious diseases.

Research Publications

See the UTE publications list

See Cristina Vilaplana’s Publications

See Pere-Joan Cardona’s publications

Members of the Group

Established Researchers
Research Staff
Project Manager

Lilibeth Arias De la Cruz, larias(ELIMINAR)@igtp.cat

Administrative Support

Laura Villegas Bullón, lvillegas(ELIMINAR)@igtp.cat

Research lines

The UTE has 3 main research lines:

Research line 1: Study of biomarkers of TB disease course and prognosis

Research aimed at identifying and validating biomarkers able to monitor response to treatment response and to predict TB disease course and outcomes, and to develop and evaluate tools and strategies to improve the clinical management of patients and their quality of life

Current projects:

  • SMA-TB Project, H2020 EU-funded coordinated project (GA847762, www.smatb.eu). PI: C Vilaplana
  • SH-TBL Project, NCT02715271. PI: C Vilaplana
  • STAGE-TB project, NCT03691883. PI: C Vilaplana
  • "Development of a CXR score to evaluate the clinical improvement of TB patients (BCN-SA X-ray Score)". PI: C Vilaplana
  • "Evaluation of the trained immunity in monocytes from healthy blood donors (TIMYC)" PI: PJ Cardona

Research line 2: Evaluation of new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against TB

2.1 In experimental models of infection (in vivo, in vitro, in silico): The unit has become an international reference to evaluate new drug and vaccine candidates, included in several international consortia and contracted by several research institutes and biotech & pharma companies. The unit offer a wide portfolio of experimental animal models and services.

Current projects:

  • Study of the innate mechanisms determining the tolerant response against tuberculosis in the Drosophila melanogaster model (FIS-FLY)". PI: PJ Cardona
  • Study of the therapeutic impact of vaccination in the model of active tuberculosis in C3HeB/FeJ mice". PI: PJ Cardona
  • Impact of the sex and the HPA axis in the development of active TB", PI: Dr. Cardona

2.2 In clinical studies and trials (CT): Novel approaches to improve TB treatment outcomes and to treat extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) cases are urgently required. The appropriateness and potential effect of new approaches need to be evaluated in humans. Current projects:

  • The NSAIDS-XDR-TB CT, NCT02781909. PI: C Vilaplana
  • SMA-TB CT, NCT04575519. PI: C Vilaplana
  • Efficacy of Nyaditum Resae® Against Active TB in Georgia, NCT02897180. PI: PJ Cardona
  • Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of Food Supplement Manremyc® Against SARS- COV-2 Infection (COVID-19) in Healthcare Workers, NCT04452773. PI: PJ Cardona
  • MANRECOVID19 CT, NCT04452773. PI: Dr. PJ Cardona
  • Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of RUTI® Against SARS-COV-2 Infection (COVID-19) in Healthcare Workers, NCT04453488
  • BRACE CT, NCT04327206. PI: Pere-Joan Cardona
  • RUTICOVID19, NCT04453488. PI: Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona

Research line 3: Study of Health dimensions and quality of life in the context of infectious diseases, in order not only to study the disease, but also to understand the patient as a whole, considering several health dimensions

Current projects:

  • Study of health dimensions in tuberculosis: since 2018, the UTE studies the dimensions of health and the impact of tuberculosis on health quality of life of tuberculosis patients in the context of the SH-TBL, STAGE-TB and XDR-NSAIDS-TB cohorts. PI: C Vilaplana
  • COM-COVID Project, NCT04378452. PI: C Vilaplana



Búsqueda de biomarcadores pronósticos para personalizar el tratamiento de la tuberculosis

PI: Dra. Cristina Vilaplana
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Agency code: PI20/01424
Start date: 2021
End date: 2023

Estudio de las bases biológicas de la susceptibilidad a la tuberculosis según el sexo. Importancia del eje hipotalámico-pituitarioadrenal

PI: Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Agency code: PI20/01431
Start date: 2021
End date: 2023

EpiPose: Epidemic intelligence to minimize COVID-19's public health, societal and economical impact

PI: Dra. Cristina Vilaplana
Funding agency: H2020 - European Commission
Agency code: 101003688
Start date: 2020
End date: 2023

Boosting immune response to better fight SARS-Cov2 in high risk healthcare

PI: Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona
Funding agency: Generalitat de Catalunya. Departament de Salut
Agency code: COVID19-PoC: Proposal Template
Start date: 2020
End date: 2021

SMA-TB: A novel Stratified Medicine Algorithm to predict treatment responses to host-directed therapy in TB Patients. (H2020-SC1-BHC-2018-2020)

PI: Dra. Cristina Vilaplana
Funding agency: H2020 - European Commission
Agency code: 847762
Start date: 2020
End date: 2024

New Resaerch and Innovation on Tuberculosis: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

PI: Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona
Funding agency: Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES)
Agency code: CB06/06/0031
Start date: 2016
End date: -

In Silico Trial for Tuberculosis Vaccine Development (STRITUVAD)

CO-PI: Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona
Funding agency: H2020-SC1-2017-CNECT-2 - European Commission
Agency code: 777123
Start date: 2018
End date: 2022

Program for the progressive substitution of laboratory animals in the Center for Comparative Medicine (IGTP) (CMCiB-3R)

PI: Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona
Funding agency: La Caixa
Agency code: LCF/PR/GN17/50300003
Start date: 2018
End date: 2022


- Research, Innovation, Projects

Two IGTP projects, financed with 1.6 million euros by the European Commission

The European Commission has granted two projects to the IGTP within the HORIZON programme, which add up to a total of 1,670,346 euros in funding and deal with the preclinical development of immunotherapies.

The new clinical trial CONSTAN testing of effectiveness of the RUTI® vaccine to shorten tuberculosis treatment times

The biotechnology company Archivel Farma has designed and set up a phase IIb clinical study called CONSTAN to explore whether administering the immunotherapy RUTI®, known as the RUTI® vaccine, along with the standard treatment for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) improves results. The principal investigator of the project is Dr Cristina Vilaplana, leader of the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit (UTE) at the Germans Trias I Pujol Research Institute (IGTP). The study has been approved by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS) and the First Patient In will be welcomed in January 2022

More information


Cristina Vilaplana & Laura Villegas

(+34) 93 033 0527