Stone me!

The Signal and Information Processing for Sensing Systems group have revealed a new analytical technique that can be used to measure cannabinoids in plants and tobacco.

Working with the University of Cordoba, Santiago Marco’s group tackled the limitations of current analytical techniques used to determine cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa L. plants, which mostly rely on chromatography-based methods, which involve separating the components in fluid.

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The way tumor cells expand challenges current physics

Researchers from IBEC and UB have discovered that the way tumor cells expand defies the laws of physics.

In an article published today in Nature Physics, the researchers have challenged our current understanding of the discipline and developed a new framework that could help predict the conditions under which tumors initiate metastasis.

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Sleep apnea could promote tumor growth in the young

A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine has revealed that sleep apnea could promote the growth of lung cancer in younger individuals.

Researchers from IBEC, the University of Barcelona and Hospital Clinic show that, contrary to expectation, age could be a protective factor against the rapid tumor development induced by this respiratory disturbance of sleep and its immediate consequence, intermittent hypoxia.

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Improving in vitro models to study the human intestine

IBEC’s Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering group has published a review about possible new strategies to study drug absorption in the intestine in the high-ranking journal Trends in Molecular Medicine.

Together with their collaborators at the Universidade do Porto, Elena Martinez’s group examines the current state-of-the-art of cell-based intestinal models, which have been used for drug absorption and metabolism studies since the 1980s. However, current models, which use Caco-2 cells derived from human intestinal tumors, are not fully representative of the human small intestine.

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Nature Physics’ ‘Insight’ issue features IBEC/Crick article

A review by IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Xavier Trepat is one of six featured in Nature Physics’ latest ‘Insight’ issue, ‘The Physics of Living Systems’, in which all the articles have been co-authored by a physicist and a biologist.

Penned together with collaborator Erik Sahai from London’s Francis Crick Institute, Xavier’s article, ‘Mesoscale physical principles of collective cell organization’, reviews recent evidence showing that cell and tissue dynamics are governed by mesoscale physical principles – force, density, shape, adhesion and self-propulsion.

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Biomaterials as signal-releasing platforms

IBEC’s Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies group has published a review of the state-of-the-art in biomaterials for skin healing that proposes a move towards more personalized, in situ therapies.

Skin wound healing repairs and restore tissue through a complex process that involves different cells and signalling molecules that regulate cellular response and the remodelling of the extracellular matrix. Publishing in Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, the article begins by summarizing recent advances in therapies for healing that combine biomolecule signals such as growth factors and cytokines with cells.

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Inspiration from a carpenter’s toolbox

IBEC’s Smart-Nano-Bio-Devices and Nanobioengineering groups have joined forces to solve the problem of random movement of micro- and nanomotors.

Samuel Sanchez’s group has been forging ahead with its creation of self-propelling micro- and nanodevices in the last few years. These chemically powered ‘swimmers’ are self-propelled by catalytic reactions in fluids – which could be the fluids of our body, or water – and have a number of promising applications, such as targeted drug delivery, environmental remediation, or as pick-up and delivery agents in lab-on-a-chip devices.

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Water can be dead, electrically speaking

Research led by the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute, with the collaboration with IBEC, reveals that water that’s only a few molecules thick – like the water that covers every surface around us – behaves very differently to normal, ‘bulk’ water.

Water is one of the most fascinating substances on Earth.  At the heart of its many unusual properties is its high polarizability – that is, its strong response to an applied electric field.

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Bacteria need vitamins too

IBEC’s Bacterial infections: antimicrobial therapies group has revealed the essential role played by a vitamin in the development of a common bacterial biofilm.

This new knowledge could play a part in understanding the spread of these bacteria, which will help towards the better design of targeted antibacterial drugs.

P. aeruginosa bacteria cause chronic lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by forming a mature biofilm – in which cells stick to each other and can grow on many different surfaces – that lets them grow and adapt.

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Physical forces regulate cell division

Researchers at IBEC have discovered that cell division in epithelial tissues is regulated by mechanical forces.

This revelation could potentially open avenues to a greater understanding of the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in tumors, and their possible regulation by means of physical forces.

Publishing in the June edition of Nature Cell Biology, the research group of ICREA professor Xavier Trepat, group leader at IBEC and associate professor at the University of Barcelona (UB), describe how the mechanical state of epithelial tissues – the continuous sheets of cells that cover all the exposed surfaces of the body – is related to the cell cycle and cell division.

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