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Manuel Comabella Lopez

Dr. Manuel Comabella earned his medical degree at the University of Barcelona, completed his neurology residency at the Neurology Department of the Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron (HUVH), and earned his PhD at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Since 2004, Dr. Manuel Comabella is the Head of the Clinical Neuroimmunology laboratory at the Fundació Institut de Recerca del HUVH. Since June 2008 he works as a clinical neurologist at the Department of Neurology / Neuroimmunology of the MS Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat), HUVH, Barcelona.

Institutions of which they are part

Predoctoral researcher
Clinical Neuroimmunology
Vall Hebron Institut de Recerca
Responsable Laboratori
Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia
From 1996 to 1998, Dr. Manuel Comabella was a Research Fellow in Neuroimmunology at the Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women´s Hospital, in Boston. In 2010 was awarded with the Ayudas Merck Serono in the multiple sclerosis research area. In 2011 was awarded by the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) with the Biogen Idec Prize to the best publication on demyelinating disorders. In 2013 was awarded by the SEN with the Novartis Prize to the best oral communication and the best publication on demyelinating disorders. In 2014 received the Neurological Disorders Award, scientific modality, granted by the SEN. In 2016 was awarded with the Ayudas Merck Serono in the multiple sclerosis research area. From 2018 to 2020, Dr. Manuel Comabella was a collaborator of the Biomedicine area at the Division of Coordination, Evaluation and Scientific and Technical Follow-up of the State Research Agency, Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

Dr. Manuel Comabella is member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis Journal, member of the Board of the ESNI (European School of Neuroimmunology), and member of the Strategic Group of the IMSGC (International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium). He is coauthor of 297 documents indexed in MedLine (Scopus: 12916 total citations, with h-index of 54). Dr. Manuel Comabella's research interest lies in the identification of biomarkers related with different aspects of multiple sclerosis and the development of new therapeutic strategies for the disease.

Research lines

Susceptibility, diagnostic and prognostic markers in multiple sclerosis

2.1. Search for casual variants of genes associated with MS Lead scientist: Manuel Comabella This line of research seeks to identify causal variants responsible for the MS risk of genes found to be associated with the disease in GWAS by means if deep sequencing. 2.2. To develop dynamic risk scores according to dynamic prognostic models for MS based on clinical, biological and radiological variables Lead scientist: Mar Tintoré In particular: 1. Develop a dynamic risk score based on the evaluation of demographical, clinical, radiological, and biological factors that entail a higher risk of developing a second relapse after a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), i.e. risk of CDMS, through building models of a dynamic nature. 2. Develop a dynamic risk score based on the evaluation of demographical, clinical, radiological, and biological factors entail a higher risk of progression of disability, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) (Kurtzke Neurology 1983), in people who have suffered a CIS, also through building models of a dynamic nature. Since 1995, patients presenting with a CIS or first attack suggestive of MS are included in a prospective cohort study. One thousand and one hundred CIS patients with a median follow-up of almost 10 years, have been included up to now. Clinical variables (age, gender, topography of the syndrome), radiological variables (number of lesions, number of Barkhof criteria, topography of the lesions, atrophy measures), as well as biological markers (IgG and IgM oligoclonal bands). In a subgroup of patients additional biomarkers (neurofilaments light and heavy chains, fetuin A, GFAP, anti-neurofascin antibodies, anti-glycan panel, chitinase, S1P, etc.) are studied as predictors of conversion to MS and as predictors of disability progression. Mathematical and marginal structural models with different combinations of the variables listed above are investigated. 2.3. Neuropsychological assessment of neurocognitive deficits in patients with multiple sclerosis Lead scientist: Mª Jesús Arévalo Unified neuropsychological assessment is considered necessary to make comparisons between different groups of patients and to draw general conclusions as well as to evolve in the knowledge of cognitive impairment of patients. There is no consensus on protocols for neuropsychological assessment of people with MS in Catalonia and patient evaluations are performed disparately among different hospitals. Neurologists and neuropsychologists from 13 hospitals and patient foundations from Catalonia have held work meetings every two months since July 2012 to seek common work ground. Consensus has been reached as to a common neuropsychological protocol for the assessment of cognitive impairment in MS. We have set up a common database including clinical and neuropsychological variables recorded from interviews with patients introduced into one application. Our work group has been incorporated into the Neuropsychology Section of the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia. 2.4. Upper limbs function and psychometric properties of outcome measures Lead scientist: Núria Filló / Ingrid Galán Upper limbs impairment impacts on daily activities and social participation of persons with MS. Under-recognition of upper limb dysfunction may result in part from limited availability of performance-based and patient self-report measures that are validated for use in MS and that can be readily incorporated into clinical practice for screening and regularly scheduled assessments This line of research seeks to study the psychometric properties of outcome measures for upper limb function in MS. 2.5 EpidEMcat Lead scientist: Susana Otero The Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat) coordinates a project that aims to characterize the epidemiology of MS in Catalonia. For this purpose, a prospective registry of new cases of MS in Catalonia was set up in 2009 with the participation of 21 hospitals throughout Catalonia. Prevalence and incidence studies based on this population-based registry are being performed. A new research line on co-morbidity and healthcare resource utilization in MS patients is now starting. 2.6 Search of genetic modifiers associated with aggressive and benign disease courses Lead scientist: Manuel Comabella We aim to identify genetic variants that influence the course of the disease by means of exome sequencing of MS patients with divergent clinical courses, i.e. aggressive and benign disease courses. 2.7 Search of biomarkers for multiple sclerosis by RNA, microRNA and exome sequencing approaches Lead scientist: Manuel Comabella Biomarkers are needed in MS to understand the complex and multifactorial heterogeneity of the disease, particularly disease activity biomarkers that may help to distinguish between different MS clinical courses or activity phases of the disease. Here, we aimed to identify disease activity biomarkers in MS by applying RNA, microRNA, and DNA sequencing approaches.

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez, Mar Tintore Subirana, Jaume Sastre Garriga, M Jesus Arevalo Navines, Susana Otero Romero

Study of the response to interferon-beta treatment in multiple sclerosis patients

3.1. Clinical, radiological and biological prognostic factors of response to treatment with interferon-beta Lead scientist: Jordi Río / Manuel Comabella Cohort study to establish outcome measures for clinical trials with clinical validity and clinical and radiological indicators associated with poor response to interferon-beta treatment. Study to identify gene signatures that may predict the good or bad response to interferon-beta in patients with MS before initiating treatment or in the first months of treatment and to identify gene expression signatures that may help to predict patients who will develop neutralizing antibodies against interferon-beta. 3.2. Clinical practice guideline on MS Lead scientist: Susana Otero A collaborative project to develop a clinical practice guideline on Multiple Sclerosis undertaken by Catalan Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Quality (AIAQS) and the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat) was launched in 2010, with the participation of all opinion leading healthcare professionals involved in the management of MS. The guideline is based on the methodology set by the National Guidelines Program of the Spanish National Health Service using the recently established GRADE system of rating quality of evidence and grading strength of recommendations. The guideline is now finalized and available in its complete version and in a quick guide for easy access to the recommendations and algorithms. A Catalan and English version will also be available in the near future.

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez, Jordi Rio Izquierdo

MRI measures of neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis - Clinical implications

Lead scientist: Jaume Sastre-Garriga / Deborah Pareto Brain volumetry is about to take a central role in the management of patients with MS. Recent evidence suggests that the neurodegenerative process can be reliably estimated in vivo with the help of MRI and appropriate software tools, and that such measurements are clinically relevant both for prognosis as well as in monitoring of treatment response. In the Clinical Neuroimmunology Group, brain volumetry estimates have been already obtained using well-tested methodologies in selected cohorts and its clinical relevance has been confirmed. New, more sophisticated software tools to obtain in-depth measuring of brain and spinal cord areas are now being tested for clinical relevance. This has been achieved through collaboration with the MRI Unit at the Institut de Diagnòstic per la Imatge.

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez, Carmen Espejo Ruiz, Jordi Barquinero Mañez, Nicolás Miguel Fissolo

Projects

Complicacions neurològiques associades a cèl·lules CAR-T (CAR-T: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell)

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez
Collaborators: Andreu Vilaseca Jolonch, Miriam Izquierdo Sans
Funding agency: Fundació Institut de Recerca HUVH
Funding: 35000
Reference: HUVH/BPFSE_CM/2022/VILASECA
Duration: 01/06/2022 - 31/05/2023

Human induced pluripotent stem cell-based chimeric mice to study astrocyte pathology and neuroprotective strategies in multiple sclerosis patients

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez
Collaborators: Clara Matute Blanch, Andres Miguez Gonzalez, Rucsanda Pinteac
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Funding: 286770
Reference: PI21/01611
Duration: 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2024

Search of prognostic factors of conversion to multiple sclerosis in patients with radiologically isolated syndrome_RIS

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez
Collaborators: -
Funding agency: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Funding: 300486.36
Reference: RIS_NMSS-PMSC2021
Duration: 01/05/2022 - 30/04/2024

A study to perform a Genome-wide association study (GWAS) that search for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the progression of the disease.

IP: Manuel Comabella Lopez
Collaborators: -
Funding agency:
Funding:
Reference: PR(AG)224/2019
Duration: -

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