Pere Joan Cardona, director of the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute, enters the RAED
Pere Joan Cardona, doctor of Medicine, entered as a full academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED) during a ceremony that was held on October 23 in Barcelona. The recipient read the admission speech “La Unitat de Tuberculosi Experimental. 20 anys d’història” (The Experimental Tuberculosis Unit. 20 years of history), where he reviews the intense trajectory of the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute of Badalona, which directs since 2002. On behalf of the Royal Corporation answered the full academician Emili Gironella.
Recognized internationally for his studies on tuberculosis from an immunopathogenic point of view, the new academician explains in his paper how the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit began its journey with “the incredible circumstance that made possible the construction of the high security facility. The unusual determination of the then manager of the Hospital and its Research Institute, together with the head of the Microbiology Service, led to the construction in 1997 of a unique facility in the European area”. Many of its successes, such as the development of the RUTI vaccine or the Mycobacterium Manresensi food supplement are for Cardona the fruit of that determined commitment to research that should be an example.
“At that time -recalls the academician in his speech- only four years ago the World Health Organization had declared for the first time in history the global emergency against tuberculosis, that is, the certification of a resounding failure. When I studied medicine, tuberculosis was practically referred to in the category of diseases such as smallpox or polio, that is to say, diseases that are extinct or about to become extinct. Nothing is further from reality”.
After reviewing, one by one the discoveries that have been made throughout these two decades of intense work and by professionals and researchers of reference, from the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit, Cardona urges the Spanish and Catalan authorities to bet decidedly by research following the model of countries like the United States. “There is no talk of spending on research, but investment”. “We let loose a lot of talent, the smartest students see that our research environment is too hard. Here you have to be a cargo donkey, as they have always considered me”, concludes the new academician.