New chemical lego blocks for health solutions

IBEC researchers develop new multi-responsive molecules able to self-assemble in water forming fiber-like structures. The so-called discotic molecules show responsiveness to temperature, light, pH, and ionic strength and they might show great potential for medical applications such as drug delivery systems, diagnosis or tissue engineering.

Edgar Fuentes is a PhD student in the Nanoscopy for Nanomedicine Group led by Lorenzo Albertazzi at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC). Within this group, Edgar and his colleagues focus on the synthesis of novel smart supramolecular materials for drug delivery.

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IBEC researchers find a new way to effectively transport drugs to the brain

An international group of researchers from the University of Maryland (United States) and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) led by ICREA Research Professor Silvia Muro, has identified a new way of transporting drugs to the brain, one of the major challenges of the pharmaceutical science today, that could help to come up with new treatments for neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

To find this out, the experts linked an antibody capable of recognizing the ICAM-1 protein -a molecule expressed on the surface of blood vessels- to a series of polymeric nanoparticles that can transport drugs and inject them intravenously.

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IBEC researchers explain “Durotaxis”, a cell migration mechanism with a potential role in several diseases

Xavier Trepat, group leader of the “Integrative cell and tissue dynamics” at IBEC together with Raimon Sunyer, Senior researcher in Trepat’s lab, have written a Primer in Current Biology magazine on “Durotaxis”, a cell migration mechanism that might have a role in several disease states that include the stiffening of tissues.

Embryo development, tumour progression or the immune response against pathogens requires cell migration.

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A low-cost ventilator for areas with limited means

A project led by the University of Barcelona to which IBEC Group Leader Daniel Navajas has contributed has created a non-invasive low-cost ventilator to support patients with respiratory diseases in areas with limited means.

Non-invasive ventilators are usually used to treat patients with respiratory failure: for example, those with severe complications due to COVID-19.

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PeriCord, a bioimplant for infarcted hearts

The journal “EBioMedicine” of “The Lancet” has just published the procedure that allowed the creation, last year, of the “PeriCord”, the first human cardiac bioimplant, in which development the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) played a key role.

In May 2019, a collaboration between the ‘Germans Trias i Pujol’ Hospital, the Blood and Tissue Bank (BST) and IBEC took a step forward for heart patients combining medicine, science and engineering.

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Bioengineering contributes to new advances against childhood cancer

IBEC contributes to elucidate how the rigidity of the tumor extracellular matrix affects the aggressiveness of neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumor that affects mainly children. This opens the door to generate more accurate models to predict tumor development in patients and to work in the design of new treatments.

Neuroblastoma is the most frequent malignant tumor in the first year of life. It is caused by a genetic mutation from immature nerve cells (neuroblasts) that the fetus produces as part of its development process.

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Researchers at IBEC help identifying a drug in clinical phase that blocks the effects of SARS-Co-V2

IBEC researchers led by ICREA Research Professor Núria Montserrat, together with international collaborators, have identified a drug capable of blocking the effects of the SARS-Co-V2 virus, the origin of the Coronavirus 2019 disease.

The treatment, which can be tested on two hundred Covid-19 patients as of today, has proven effective in mini-kidneys generated from human stem cells. Using hese organoids generated by bioengineering techniques, it has been deciphered how SARS-Co-V2 interacts and infects human kidney cells.

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IBEC researchers develop a model to design precision nanomedicine

Researchers at Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) have proposed a model that gives important insights into how nanoparticles interact with cells, virus, bacteria or proteins, among others.

The findings provide a very powerful tool to design personalized nanomedicines, since allow the scientists to create nanoparticles tailor-made for each patient.

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IBEC participates in an international study to stop coronavirus contagion

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) led by Professor ICREA Núria Montserrat are studying the role of the receptor ‘Angiotensin converting enzyme’ (ACE2), one of the pathways that the SARS-Co-V2 virus uses to enter our body.

To do this, experts use mini-kidneys, as well as other cell cultures such as cardiac organoids. The goal is to exploit these mini-organs to better understand how the virus works.

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Researchers at IBEC provide new insights on how to treat chronic infections

Researchers at Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) have managed to recreate the coculture conditions and environmental requisites that would allow the simultaneous and stable growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, two major pathogens commonly found growing together in intricate biofilms in disease-affected lungs or wounds.

Most chronic infections occur due to the inherent capacity of some bacterial pathogens to grow in biofilms. Biofilm-associated infections, which have become a critical worldwide threat, have historically been treated as single-species events.

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