What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema occurs when the capacity of the lymphatic circulation is reduced, either by an obstruction or by an abnormal development of the lymphatic system. Consequently, protein-rich fluid (lymph) accumulates in the soft tissue and due to this accumulation, a swelling of the affected area occurs.

Lymphedema affects 270 million people worldwide and can affect both the upper and lower extremities. Only in Spain, between 1.3 and 1.5 million patients are estimated to be affected by this disease.

In developed countries, the first cause of Lymphedema is secondary to breast cancer, due to the removal or damage of the lymph nodes as a consequence of the oncological treatment. This pathology occurs in 13-40% of patients.

Currently, much progress is being made causing a positive impact on the quality of life of those women, who have felt their lives have considerably improved — although it is still necessary to do much more.

What has been achieved?

For many years, the treatment of Lymphedema has been practically restricted to a type of palliative treatment through physiotherapy. For some years now, many groups from all over the world have been involved. Among them, we find the group led by the distinguished Professor Koshima, or some other European groups, like ours in Hospital Sant Pau (Barcelona), also in Paris and Helsinki. All these teams are aiming to get a treatment which could potentially be curative and effective to improve the patients’ quality of life. Currently, we hold sustainable knowledge about how the lymphatic system works and the surgical techniques used to treat Lymphedema. We must continue to expand our knowledge about the lymphatic system, even though our focus of research and a large part of our resources are going to be allocated to preventive surgery. Our goal is to anticipate the appearance of Lymphedema, which we have already started doing by connecting the lymphatic vessels to veins to prevent it from developing. This is technically called Lymphatic Venous Anastomosis. However, these treatments still require many economic resources.

What do we want to do and with whom?

With the aspiration to achieve a treatment that is able to cure and improve the lives of our patients, we have initiated a solidarity partnership with Jaume Llopart Alemany’s wine cellar company, who shows a particular sensitivity for this type of health problems. Jaume Llopart Alemany is a family business from Penedes region that produces wine and cava in an artisanal way offering a catalog of high-quality wines and cavas. Together, we have released two brand new wines — a white wine and a red wine that we have called Ikigai.

The Jaume Llopart Alemany red wine

is a young wine, 100% Merlot and harvested in 2017. Serving temperature: 15˚C and 18˚C.

Sensory analysis

Colour: A singular and intense picota cherry color with garnet edging.
Nose: Aromas of black fruit in compote (blackberries, quince and blackcurrant).
Palate: Balanced, with a pleasant acidity with nuances of blackberries. Ending with fine tannins, meaty and very pleasant to the palate. Ideal for all types of meat, stews, cheeses, and sausages.

The Jaume Llopart Alemany’s white wine

is a dry, elegant and complex wine, 100% Xarel·lo of the harvest of 2017. Serving temperature: 6˚C and 8˚C.

Sensory analysis

Colour: Bright straw with greenish tones embraced in a soft and balanced palate.
Palate: It reminds of olfactory sensations. Ideal to accompany fish, seafood and entrées in general.


What is the meaning of Ikigai?

The Japanese word Ikigai is composed of two words: iki, which refers to “life”, and kai which means “the realization of what one expects and desires”. According to Japan’s millenary culture, we all have an ikigai, a reason to exist or to be, to live life. That is, finding the meaning of our existence, our mission, something that gives us the strength to get out of bed each morning. Our Ikigai is to fight every day to improve the lives of so many patients that are affected by Lymphedema.

Where will the raised funds be allocated?

By purchasing this wine, part of the benefits will go to the Research Institute of the Sant Pau Hospital (IR-HSCSP)-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) for the Lymphedema Research program led by Dr. Jaume Masià. All the contributions will aim to finance research projects developed in our center and also through a competitive selection process for projects from other scientific recognition centers in the world. We greatly appreciate your generosity and sensitivity for this type of pathology.