The Infections and Cancer units primarily study infection-attributable cancers and their related pathogens.

The Unit of Information and Interventions (UNIC II) has long-standing expertise in the prevention of HPV infections and cervical cancer. It facilitates information for decision-making bodies and enables public health interventions both nationally and internationally. UNIC II is recognised for conducting high-quality research to improve the prevention of cancers associated with HPV infection.

At the local level, UNIC II is working on the organisation and implementation of the new population-based HPV Screening Programme in Catalonia, the quality assessment and impact evaluation of the Catalan HPV Prevention Plan, and the development of modelling studies for the economic evaluation of different cancer prevention interventions.

At the global level, UNIC II is actively involved in the WHO’s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, including monitoring of HPV infection, HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening strategies worldwide.

In summary, UNIC II’s main areas of expertise are HPV epidemiology, HPV vaccines, cervical cancer screening, implementation and monitoring, mathematical modelling of HPV prevention, and training for healthcare professionals on HPV and cervical cancer.


Primary research areas:

  • Assessing health needs and the disease burden of HPV-associated cancers at population level

    UNIC II develops and measures population-level quantitative epidemiological indicators (including global, regional, national and subnational indicators).
    Epidemiological indicators are developed and analysed in relation to HPV-related infection, HPV disease burden and HPV prevention practices (including HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening) to inform decision-making bodies and evaluation agencies.
    The HPV Information Centre produces global indicators by combining a variety of information sources (identified through systematic searches or systematic literature reviews) and applying different pooling and meta-analysis techniques. This has resulted in several collaborations with leading international public health agencies (WHO, IARC, PAHO, PATH, ECDC).

  • Designing new strategies and interventions for preventing HPV-associated cancers

    UNIC II develops new intervention programmes for cervical cancer prevention, focussed on combining the different preventive options available, i.e. HPV vaccination and cervical screening. Though complementary, these are usually implemented separately (in non-coordinated programmes).
    As part of the HPV-FASTER project, UNIC II is working on the implementation of HPV vaccines for older women in combination with HPV detection as a primary screening test. This approach has the potential to accelerate the decline in cervical cancer incidence and mortality and to simplify screening programmes.

  • Cost-effectiveness analyses of prevention and control interventions for HPV-related cancers

    UNIC II develops economic evaluation models to facilitate informed and systematic decision-making with respect to health policy. The primary methodology uses computational disease simulation models that incorporate epidemiological, clinical, demographic, behavioural and financial data to estimate the health and economic impact of several interventions and compare their cost-effectiveness.

  • Assisting the implementation and evaluation of the impact of health interventions on the population

    UNIC II was appointed by the Health Department of the Government of Catalonia to perform official monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the Catalan HPV Vaccination Programme and the Catalan Cervical Cancer Screening Programme.
    UNIC II assists the Health Department with the implementation of the new Cervical Cancer Screening Programme in Catalonia, including creation of the new screening protocol, establishment of new clinical practice guidelines, definition of screening circuits, estimation of needs and costs, and testing and evaluation of the Pilot Programme For the Use of Self-Collected Samples as the main screening sampling method in Catalonia.
    In addition, UNIC II supports the design, monitoring and evaluation of the screening registry information system for proper identification, invitation (medical appointment) and management of patients.

  • Dissemination and professional training

    UNIC II develops educational material on the natural history of HPV and the prevention of cervical cancer for the online education platform e-oncología, which mainly targets healthcare professionals nationally and internationally.
    It also participates in the development of educational material aimed at the general population concerning the cervical cancer screening programme in Catalonia, including brochures and general information on infections and cancer via