Dr. Vassena, Eugin Group’s scientific director, says that “being able to transfer the results of the research resulting from this agreement to daily clinical practice is very stimulating, both for the medical community and for our patients”
The Eugin Group and the Centre for Genomic Regulation of Barcelona (CGR) signed a partnership agreement in molecular research applied to assisted reproduction on 14 March 2018. The commitment between both centres, by means of which Eugin, European leader in assisted reproduction, becomes an official partner of the CGR, will provide for the creation of 4 joint working groups that will carry out research on issues related to the effects of the ageing of eggs or vaginal mycobiota in assisted reproduction.
The framework agreement – signed by the CGR director, Luis Serrano, and the Eugin Group CEO, Eduardo González – strengthens a relationship that already existed between the two centres through the working group of Isabelle Vernos, ICREA research professor at CGR, with whom Eugin has been collaborating for 4 years following an internal initiative by CGR to promote multidisciplinary research aimed at patients and society.
After the success of this mutually beneficial experience, the partnership will now extend to four working groups led, on CRG’s side, by Isabelle Vernos, Toni Gabaldon, Bernhard Payer, and Elvan Boke. They all work at CGR, and will work closely with the Eugin R & D team, led by Dr. Rita Vassena, Eugin Group’s scientific director and member of the Executive Committee of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).
Most of the research resulting from this agreement will focus on the study of the quality of eggs and how they age over the years. The eggs “age” with the passing of the years, and this is the fundamental reason why today so many women don’t succeed in getting pregnant naturally. Delaying motherhood has been a constant trend in recent years in Spain. According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Spanish women have their first child at 32.5 years. In 1975, the year in which this statistic was first recorded, the average age of first-time mothers was 25.2 years.
The CGR and Eugin research groups will work on several lines of research. These range from seeing how, with the age of the egg, the proteins that will later be responsible for the development of the embryo change, to identifying whether epigenetic changes have any effect on the egg’s maturation, or studying whether changes in the vaginal mycobiota can have any effect at the time of embryo implantation.
From the lab to the physician’s office
With this alliance, the research potential of the CGR joins forces with Eugin Group’s vast experience in assisted reproduction and the treatment of their patients. “The agreement will allow Eugin to have access to CGR, one of Europe’s and, indeed, the world’s, top class, cutting-edge centres, who will make available their expertise, techniques and equipment, which is at the very forefront in biomedical research,” says Dr. Rita Vassena. “Being able to transfer the results of the research resulting from this agreement to daily clinical practice is very stimulating, both for the medical community and for our patients. Assisted reproduction is a branch of medicine that is still in its infancy, and we look forward to obtaining results that will improve infertility treatments”, she concludes.
CGR, for their part, will have access to the expertise in assisted reproduction of one of Europe’s largest assisted reproduction groups, with thousands of patients from all over the world. “The collaboration between basic and clinical research, from the very first stages of research, is very positive because it encourages interdisciplinarity and is crucial for there to be a return for society,” says Dr. Serrano, director of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CGR). “The four projects that we are now starting are an example of the success of this partnership. It stimulates our scientists, who see how their research can have an application from a very early stage and contributes to the knowledge we generate benefiting society”, adds Serrano.