It is just 20 years since we opened the first multiple sclerosis unit in Catalonia or anywhere in Spain. However, the history of the origins of the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat) dates back earlier, to when the neurologist Dr Xavier Montalban, the current Director of the centre, was working on his doctoral thesis.

Below we set out a summary of some of the milestone years that subsequently resulted in the creation of Cemcat: Treatment of the first patients at the Vall d'Hebron Neurology Service, the first bursaries, involvement in the first international clinical trials giving rise to new treatments for MS, the formal opening of the current building

Each of these years, and all the individuals that have passed through Cemcat over this time, have played a vital part in providing the healthcare, research and teaching capacity that the centre now enjoys, making it a flagship in the sphere of multiple sclerosis. Nor should we overlook the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FEM) or the Vall d'Hebron Magnetic Resonance Unit, since without them this whole story would have been impossible. And we should likewise not ignore the future that we aim to build so as to understand and treat the disease better.


Creation of the Cemcat Foundation

Staging of the ECTRIMS Congress in Barcelona with Dr Xavier Montalban as Director. ECTRIMS is the most important congress in the field of multiple sclerosis.


Formal opening of the current Cemcat building and integration at the site of the Vall d'Hebron Neuroimmunology Service and the FEM Neurorehabilitation units. 2,000 square metres of facilities dedicated to multiple sclerosis care and treatment.

Edific Cemcat


Transfer to the second floor of the nursing school building

Escola de enfermeria


Laboratoris al Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR)


First multiple sclerosis unit anywhere in Catalonia or in Spain

Escola de enfermeria


First international clinical trial


First space dedicated exclusively to neurological research at Vall d'Hebron, mainly addressing the causes and treatment of multiple sclerosis. The space was located on the eighth floor of Vall d'Hebron General Hospital


Bursary awarded by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FEM)


Patients with multiple sclerosis begin to receive outpatient care at the Vall d'Hebron Neurology Service from Dr Xavier Montalbano and Dr Mar Tintoré.

First official FIS bursary


First seed of the Clinical Neuroimmunology Unit Dr Xavier Montalban completes his doctoral thesis at St Thomas's Hospital in London, studying the importance of specific antibodies in an auto-immune disease (systemic lupus erythematosus). Dr Montalbano writes a letter to Dr Mar Tintoré, resident neurologist at the time, explaining a project that is now a reality. A little later, Dr Jordi Río and Dr Íngrid Galan join the project. They all now belong to the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat)