Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is highly prevalent in Catalonia, as in other western countries. The prevalence of CKD is estimated to be 8-16% of the worldwide population. Data from 2018 showed a prevalence of 1,469 patients per million inhabitants in Catalonia, almost 3% more than in 2017. CKDs often lead to end stage renal diseases, which require replacement therapy, such as kidney transplantation. The 2019 report of OCATT, the Catalan Transplantation Organization, revealed up to 882 kidney transplants were performed in Catalonia, a transplant rate of 115.0 per million population (pmp). All these data show CKD is a prevalent chronic health problem with a large impact on our society.

The REMAR Group (from its Catalan name, REcerca en Malalties d'Afectació Renal) is a multidisciplinary group including more than 25 professionals from Germans Trias University Hospital (HUGTiP) & Research Institute (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. The researchers aim to foster basic, clinical and translational research in the field of kidney diseases and disorders associated with kidney failure. The research lines are focused on identifying non-invasive biomarkers and developing innovative therapies mainly (but not only) for kidney-related diseases.

In the last 3 years, the group has participated in more than 50 publications, of which 23 are from basic research (70% on Q1 journals). During this time period, they have developed several research projects with competitive and non-competitive financing, defended 6 PhD thesis, and 6 more PhD students are currently training within the group.

Keywords: Nephrology, transplant immunology, translational medicine, biomarkers, advanced therapies.

Kidney affecting diseases (REMAR) research group

Group leader

  • Jordi Bover Sanjuán
    Jordi Bover Sanjuán

    Jordi Bover Sanjuán

    Since June 2021, Dr Jordi Bover has been the head of the Nephrology Service at Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (HUGTiP) in the northern metropolitan area of Barcelona (Badalona). He previously worked at Puigvert Foundation where he was research professor in Nephrology UAB/FP. Trained in the pathophysiology of complications of chronic kidney disease (CKD) at Wadsworth Veteran Affairs Medical Center (UCLA) in Los Angeles, USA, Bover was a fellow of the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California and has been the author or co-author of multiple scientific articles from international journals and reference books in your specialty. Likewise, he was a founding member of the EDTA CKD-MBD Working Group, and was recently named a distinguished member of the European Renal Association (FERA).

    His main activity and interests include CKD, its early diagnosis, as well as its complications, especially the pathophysiology and treatment of bone-mineral metabolism disorders (CKD-MBD) and associated cardiovascular disease. Dr Bover has coordinated national guidelines and actively participated in the development of international guidelines. He has organized symposiums and meetings and given conferences on all these topics in more than 40 countries.

    Contact: jbover.ics(ELIMINAR)@gencat.cat
    ORCID: 0000-0003-3577-2273

  • Marcel·la Franquesa Bartolomé
    Marcel·la Franquesa Bartolomé

    Marcel·la Franquesa Bartolomé

    Marcel·la Franquesa is a biologist with a translational interest in the field of Nephrology. The focus of her research has always been the advanced therapies and regenerative therapies in kidney disease. From gene therapy and cell therapy to the current main interest in EVs as a therapeutic targets. During her career, Franquesa had the opportunity to work in different laboratories such as the Experimental Nephrology lab led by Dr J Grinyó at IDIBELL, the Nephrology Lab led by Dr J Bonventre at Harvard Medical School and the Transplantation Lab led by Carla Baan at Erasmus MC.

    Contact: mfranquesa(ELIMINAR)@igtp.cat
    ORCID: 0000-0002-1287-8908

Research lines

REMAR conducts clinical and translational nephrology research.

In the clinical setting, the group’s main research lines are:

  • Bone and mineral metabolism
  • Cardiorenal axis
  • New approaches in transplantation
  • POCUS (Point of Care Ultrasound)

In the laboratory, the group is focused on:

  • Novel non-invasive urinary biomarkers
  • Advanced cell-based and EV therapies

Active projects

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

PI: Marcel·la Franquesa
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: PI20/00097
Duration: 01/01/2021 - 31/06/2025

FIBROKIT - Primera tecnología no invasiva per detectar i monitoritzar la fibrosi renal

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding Agency: Agència de Gestió d'Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (AGAUR)
Agency code: 2023PROD0009
Duration: 01/02/2024 - 31/07/2025

FIBROKIT: First IVD-based non-invasive monitoring of kidney fibrosis

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding Agency: Fundació “la Caixa”
Agency code: CI23-30015
Duration: 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2025

FIBROKIT - Test no invasivo para monitorizar la fibrosis renal

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding Agency: Departament de Salut - Generalitat e Catalunya
Agency code: SLT033/23/000014
Duration: 01/01/2024 – 31/12/2024

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 (ISCIII)
Agency code: PI19/00837
Duration: 2020 - 2024

Glaucoma y Vesículas Extracelulares (GLAUVEX): Biomarcadores e intervención terapéutica

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: PI22/00688
Duration: 02/01/2023 - 01/01/2026

Células dendríticas tolerogénicas autólogas donante-específicas (dsATDC) para receptores de trasplante de riñon altamente sensibilizados

Funding Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: ICI21/00049
Duration: 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2025

Spain CKD cause (SPACKDc)

PI: Alberto Ortiz Arduan
Funding Agency: Ministerio Ciencia e Innovación
Agency code: PMP21/00109
Duration: 01/01/2022 - 12/2025

Contrato predoctoral de formación en investigación en salud (PFIS)

PI: Marta Clos Sansalvador
Funding Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: HHRR FI20/00021
Duration: 2020 - 2023

Contrato Miguel Servet

PI: Marcel·la Franquesa
Funding Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: HHRR CP19/00018
Duration: 2020 - 2024

Personal investigador en formació (PIF)

PI of the group
Funding Agency: Departament de Salut - Generalitat e Catalunya
Agency code: HHRR FI20/00021
Duration: 2023 - 2025

RICORS2040 network

PI of the group, collaboration
Funding Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: RD21/0005/0009
Duration: 2023 - 2025


PI: Jordi Bover

Estudio del MIR125b en la nefropatía diabética: contribuciones de los órganos-on-a-chip a la medicina personalizada: proyecto iROC

PI: M Hueso
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Duration: 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2026

Past projects

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

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding agency: Obra Social Fundación "la Caixa"
Agency code: CI19/000448
Duration: 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021

IVD-based non-invasive detection & monitoring of kidney fibrosis

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding Agency: CERCA Gínjol Patent Funds
Duration: 01/09/2022 - 01/09/2023

Project CPS 2021-041

PI of the group
Funding Agency: Gain Therapeutics
Date: 2021

Primera tecnologia no invasiva para detectar y monitorizar la fibrosis renal

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding agency: FIPSE
Duration: 01/11/2022 - 01/06/2023

Kit de diagnóstico no invasivo para monitorizar la fibrosis en pacientes con trasplante de riñón

PI: Francesc E. Borràs
Funding Agency: Fundación "la Caixa", CaixaResearch Validate
Agency code: PMP21/00109
Start date: 2020
End date: 2022

Scientific publications

Highlighted 2023 publications

Clos-Sansalvador M, Monguió-Tortajada M, Grau-Leal F, Ruiz de Porras V, Garcia SG, Sanroque-Muñoz M, Font-Morón M, Franquesa M, Borràs FE. Agarose spot migration assay to measure the chemoattractant potential of extracellular vesicles: applications in regenerative medicine and cancer metastasis. BMC Biol. 2023 Oct 26;21(1):236. DOI: 10.1186/s12915-023-01729-5.

Fusaro M, Pereira L, Bover J. Current and Emerging Markers and Tools Used in the Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease-Mineral and Bone Disorder in Non-Dialysis Adult Patients. J Clin Med. 2023 Sep 30;12(19):6306. DOI: 10.3390/jcm12196306.


Additional information

Collaborative projects

  • RICORS 2040: Spanish collaborative network to find a solution for kidney diseases. This broad network covers clinical and experimental/translational research to flatten the exponential increase in chronic kidney disease projected for 2040. Current models of disease progression predict that by 2040 kidney disease will be the fifth leading cause of mortality worldwide.
  • ERA (European Renal Association) CKD-MBD Working Group. More information
  • CaReMe (grup de treball de Medicina Cardiorrenal)
  • POCUSIAPN (Internatioanal Alliance for POCUS in Nephrology)
  • International Renal Research Institute of Vicenza
  • KDIGO (Kidney Disease Initative Global Outcomes). More information
  • GEIVEX (Grupo Español de Investigación e Innovación en Vesículas Extracelulares). More information

Doctoral theses

Author: Marta Clos-Sansalvador
Supervisor: Francesc E. Borràs
Date of defense: December 2024

Author: Sergio G. Garcia
Supervisor: Marcel·la Franquesa
Date of defense: December 2024


- Institutional

Celebrating International Women's Day: the voice of our professionals

To commemorate International Women's Day, we asked four questions to researchers from various profiles at IGTP and professionals from different research support areas. The aim is to understand the difficulties they have faced as women in their professional field and to gain insight into their perspectives on the future.

- Research

Biomaterial scaffolds containing extracellular vesicles from stem cells to control and promote heart muscle repair after heart attack

Scientists of the ICREC group at the Germans Trias i Pujol Research institute (IGTP) continue to refine their technology for repairing cardiac tissue after a heart attack.  In a paper published in Bioactive Materials they present their latest work in which they use implanted scaffolds containing no cells, but extracellular vesicles that promote the repair of myocardium damaged in a heart attack.

+ News