The twelfth edition of the ABC Health Awards brought together this Wednesday afternoon the highlights of the Spanish health in 2022. At the headquarters of the centenary of the newspaper, the awards have been presented that this year have as protagonists the advances in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, human reproduction and cardiovascular diseases.
The ABC Salud awards, which each year recognize the work of institutions, professionals and companies in the world of healthcare, have been sponsored by Asisa, and in collaboration with ANEFP.
The jury, chaired by Ana Pastor, second vice-president of the Congress and former Minister of Health, has recognized the innovation of projects that improve diagnosis and treatment, as well as the clinical and research work of the Catalan oncologist Josep Tabernero. But also the drug that protects the heart, advances in reproduction and strategies against Covid in the eight categories that distinguish these awards.
Julián Quirós, director of ABC, has been in charge of opening the act giving the “warmest congratulations to the winners”. «The best thing about these awards is that the winners are an indisputable proof that merit, work and excellence It is a flag that has always carried as ABC teaches. You cannot have this jury without giving the freedom to make decisions and deliberations », she has assured.
The oncologist Josep Tabernero, recognized by these awards as ‘Doctor of the Year’, stressed that “thanks to research, cancer survival has been increased” and has defended public-private collaboration to achieve progress.
The Reproductive Immunology Unit at Hospital Clínico San Carlos, the Quiron Madrid Proton Therapy Center, the polypill that protects the heart, Fujifilm’s AI to diagnose cancer, the ‘Maternity Blues’ nursing initiative at Hospital Sanitas La Zarzuela, the delivery of Covid test in Madrid pharmacies and the Mundo Sano Foundation have also been awarded in this edition.
For his part, the Minister of Health of the Community of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, has thanked all the winners: “We are aware of the work behind each of the awards.” «These awards will encourage you to continue working with the same quality in new projects that improve the lives and future of all. Congratulations on the involvement and demonstrated vocation. Long live these awards », she concluded.
Physician of the Year: Oncologist Josep Tabernero
Director of Institute of Oncology of the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Josep Tabernero is an international benchmark in colorectal cancer and digestive tumor research. His research, applied to the clinic, has changed the treatment of patients with the design of more effective targeted therapies, in what is called precision oncology. A former president of the European Society for Medical Oncology, he has also contributed to the approval of more than 40 cancer drugs.
Josep Tabernero has received his award from the Minister of Health of the Community of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero. «I am especially excited for many reasons. This award is 12 years old and the first winner was Josep Baselga, my friend and mentor who left us a year and a half ago », he recalled. Tabernero has assured that survival in cancer is increasing significantly: «We had a survival of 35% less than 30 years ago and right now it is above 60% and in some diseases 90% and this is thanks to the fact that it has been investigated”, he stated. He has also highlighted that Spain is very well positioned “thanks to public-private collaboration”, of which he considers himself a great defender. Finally, he dedicated the award “to cancer patients, who have great courage and great ability to fight.”
Public hospital: Clínico San Carlos for its Reproductive Immunology Unit
The Madrid hospital launched in 2018 a functional unit of Reproductive Immunology, a pioneer in Spanish healthcare. Dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and gestational monitoring of couples with recurrent spontaneous abortions or implantation failures after fertility treatments, they have achieved a gestational success rate of 94%. Silvia Sánchez-Ramón is in charge of this pioneering unit in which research is combined with clinical practice.
The general director of ABC, Ana Delgado, has presented the award to Silvia Sánchez Ramón, head of the Immunology Service of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital. “It is an honor for me to receive the award on behalf of my hospital and the team I lead,” she assured. The expert explained that from 2018 to February of this year, the unit has registered 252 women with repeated pregnancy failure due to immunological causes who “have been able to give birth”. “We are developing joint research projects with gynecology to continue advancing and reaching other Immunology units in Spain and expanding results to Spanish society”, she concluded.
Private hospital: Quirón Madrid Proton Therapy Center
Private healthcare has been a pioneer in setting up the first proton therapy centers, the most precise radiotherapy against cancer. Less harmful and effective, it allows the tumor to be attacked, reducing the risk of damaging healthy tissues compared to conventional radiotherapy techniques that use photons or electrons. The Quirónsalud proton therapy center in Pozuelo (Madrid) was the first to be built in Spain. From there, it cares for patients from all over the country, in collaboration with public health.
The editor-in-chief of Sociedad and coordinator of the ABC Salud supplement, Nuria Ramírez de Castro, has been in charge of presenting the award to Raúl Matute, head of the Radiation Oncology Service of the QuirónSalud Proton Therapy Center, and Juan Antonio Vera, specialist of the Medical Physics of the Center.
Raúl Matute has indicated that the award is a “double recognition to Quironsalud for the tremendous commitment to innovate and provide the Spanish society with cancer with a technology that we were demanding; and a whole team that develops its work in the center». «In addition to giving a precise treatment, appropriate for each case, we try to ensure that the period that the patient spends in the center is as human as possible“, it is finished.
Best drug: The polypill that protects the heart
The cardiologist Valentín Fuster had a happy idea: why not combine the three drugs prescribed after a heart attack in a single pill? In this way, the taking was simplified and the patients’ forgetfulness was fought against. This idea materialized in a polypill developed by the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) with the Ferrer laboratory. The drug is not only a more comfortable option, it is also more effective because it reduces mortality after a heart attack by 33%.
Cristóbal Belda, director of the Carlos III Health Institute and member of the jury, presented the award to Óscar Pérez, Chief Marketing, Market Access & Pricing and Business Development Officer at Ferrer, who recalled that cardiovascular disease is a “silent pandemic” and «first cause of death and hospitalization among the population». The polypill worthy of the ABC Salud award has presented the results of a study that provides evidence of a 33 percent reduction in mortality for cardiovascular reasons.
Doctor Valentín Fuster, ideologue of the polypill, has thanked the award through a video since he is convalescing from a knee operation. Fuster recalled that this medicine is the result of a 15-year project and that it is a “very important example of public-private collaboration: the CNIC and the Ferrer laboratory.”
Health technology: AI to diagnose cancer
Artificial intelligence has become the best ally in cancer diagnosis. Fujifilm’s system refines the diagnosis of each patient. It does so in endoscopy equipment for colon cancer screening and is capable of generating a prediction of polyps suspected of becoming malignant. In the breast they also make it easier to identify lesions that might be difficult to visualize on traditional mammography.
Pedro Mesquita, general director of Fujifilm in Spain and Portugal, and Salvador Luna, Fujifilm’s Digital Marketing & Corporate Communications Manager, received the award from María Blasco, director of the National Cancer Research Center and member of the jury.
Salvador Luna thanked the award and noted that it is “recognition of the effort to develop artificial intelligence and apply it to health.” “As we say at Fujifilm ‘never stop innovating’ and we will continue to do so”, he has concluded.
Nursing: ‘Maternity Blues’
This nursing program at Hospital Sanitas La Zarzuela has made it possible to have an emotional support unit for women who suffer from depression or postpartum dysphoria, whose disorder often goes unnoticed.
The director of ABC has been in charge of delivering the award to Lidia Gómez Jiménez, nurse creator and director of the project, who has explained that this project responds to “the beautiful work of nursing accompanying the patient in the important stages of his life ». And precisely motherhood is one of them. This initiative «is born from professional and personal experience. Moms need to be heard. It is very important to be aware of the most vulnerable who need the most help », she pointed out.
Pharmacy: Test delivery in Madrid
Between December 2021 and March 2022, pharmacies in Madrid dispensed more than 4.6 million covid-19 self-diagnostic antigen tests free of charge to stop the spread of the infection at a time of increasing incidence. Madrid pharmacists contributed actively and selflessly to control the pandemic.
The president of the Official College of Pharmacists of Madrid, Manuel Martínez del Peral Mayor, has collected the prize for the Pharmacy initiative from the hands of Luis Mayero, director of Asisa. The president of the COFM has praised the “effort” of the 3,000 pharmacies in Madrid. “In the sixth wave we saw that work as a health care professional in the pharmacy that now brings us recognition because they were very hard times and we did it for our patients,” he concluded.
Best foundation: Mundo Sano
The Mundo Sano Foundation has been working since 1993 for the victims of diseases that have been neglected by the rest of the world and that 1,600 million people suffer from. Chagas, dengue, zika or leishmaniasis, among other infections that are expanding in a global world. Mundo Sano has worked especially so that many people have access to treatment for Chagas disease.
Marina Gold, member of the Board of Trustees of the Mundo Sano Foundation, and Marcelo Abril, executive director of the Mundo Sano Foundation in Argentina, have received the award from Federico de Montalvo, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Relations and General Secretary of the Comillas Pontifical University and member of the jury. Marina Gold has explained that it was her grandfather, who had already retired from the pharmaceutical industry, who founded Mundo Sano in 1993. «The work of the foundation is incredible and it is the story of my family. It’s a pride for me. The merit goes to the team that has been working for 20 years under the direction of Marcelo, not only in Argentina but also in Spain. Chagas is also in Spain and is transmitted from mother to child,” warned Marina Gold.
For his part, Marcelo Abril explained that “what is endemic in America is a problem of migrants in Europe.” And he has considered this award as the “first gift” of the 30th anniversary that the Foundation celebrates next year. «Google ‘no baby with chagas’, an initiative so that there are no more births of children affected by this disease«, he has concluded.