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Barcelona Medical Photonics Network established to improve the health of society

Date Announced: 24 Feb 2021

Eight leading health institutions in Barcelona and ICFO unite to bring photonic techs to hospitals.

Barcelona, Spain -- Eight prominent health institutions in the Barcelona area, their research institutes and ICFO join forces through the creation of a network to bring cutting-edge photonic technologies to hospitals.

As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. It is equally true that it takes close interdisciplinary R+D collaborations to bring children into the world, detecting, understanding, monitoring, and treating health issues they may develop throughout their journey to old age.

Today we celebrate the consolidation of the Barcelona Medical Photonics Network that promotes the research and development activities carried out in and around Barcelona through long-standing collaborations between ICFO and its numerous clinical partners.

Because of its exceptional versatility, precision, and non-invasive nature, photonics is playing an increasing role in medical techniques and practices, to the extent that today it is considered a key enabling technology in developing healthcare in Europe. Researchers at ICFO have extensive expertise in the development of photonic-based technologies for clinical use, in collaboration with doctors around the world, and especially in the Barcelona area.

Successful ‘bench-to-bedside’ translation of new technologies require the collaborative efforts of experts in different fields, ensuring that research around medical technologies is continuously aligned with the needs of citizens and society at large. After over a decade of close collaboration with hospitals and health care specialists in the Barcelona area, the formalization of the Barcelona Medical Photonics network enables the solidification and expansion of the reach, scope and impact of these critical relationships. This network is part of the Light for Health program at ICFO, an initiative that was launched and took root thanks to the impetus of the Cellex Foundation, and continued to grow through the continuous support from the ”La Caixa” Foundation, Barcelona City Council, as well as state and European funds.

The Network aims to have an impact on society at many levels: 

  • Sharing and contrasting of best practices for technology use, adoption and dissemination of results amongst care centers.
  • A formal structure that will allow for increased focus on a wide-range of patient scenarios that ultimately improves patient outcomes.
  • Flexibility to participate as a block in international initiatives and projects, primarily from the European Union, to expand the common research goals of the network partners.Preparedness for engagement in emergencies, such as COVID, to rapidly and effectively test new technologies to meet emerging requirement for critical patient care. 

An expanded range of data points from around Catalonia (age, geography, pathologies) for testing technologies providing reliable and insightful analysis.

The main established joint endeavors to date have spanned initiatives in disciplines such as neurology and neurosurgery, neonatal care, ophthalmology, oncology, intensive care monitoring, dermatology, rapid clinical analysis, rehabilitation, sports medicine, wellbeing, sleep disorders and anesthesiology, among others.

As Lluis Torner, Director of ICFO, highlights “It is incredibly rewarding to watch our science and technology, often based on very frontier physics, move into hospitals where it can help doctors better care for their patients. This journey requires a lot of perseverance and sustained support. Fortunately, for the past decade we have had this thanks to visionaries from the Cellex and ”La Caixa” Foundations, Barcelona City Council and the DGR of the Government of Catalonia. We thank everyone for their support and the doctors for their participation”. 

Turgut Durduran, leader of the Medical Optics research group at ICFO, comments “Our goal is to see technologies enabled by advanced photonics in clinical practice. We will do that by working together with clinicians and biomedical researchers of this network, with industry and ultimately with governments. Barcelona area is a world-class place to achieve this goal with its diverse array of hospitals, research centers and companies as well as the support infrastructure.” 

Link to the Barcelona Medical Photonics Network website

Barcelona Medical Photonics Network video


ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Mediterranean Technology Park
Carl Friedrich Gauss, 3
08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain 
Tel.: (+34) 93 553 4002 
Fax: (+34) 93 553 4000 

E-mail: secretariat@icfo.eu

Web Site: www.icfo.eu

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