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ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez’s Smart Nano-Bio-Devices group will receive the support for three years to develop their project MEDIROBOTS (Photo: IBEC).

BBVA Foundation funds an IBEC project

ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez’s Smart Nano-Bio-Devices group at IBEC will receive the support for three years to develop a project into more efficient anticancer drug delivery systems from the BBVA Foundation under its ‘Ayudas a Equipos de Investigación en Biomedicina’ funding programme.


The project, MEDIROBOTS: Precision nanobotomy against tumors,  will develop biocompatible robots driven by enzymes with applications as drug release systems whose progress in vitro and in vivo can be traced using advanced molecular imaging techniques such as super-resolution microscopy.

In addition, the IBEC group proposes to take advantage of the chemical reaction that causes the propulsion of these nanoparticles as a contrast agent to improve the molecular image. The ultimate goal will be that lower quantities of a cancer drug would need to be administered, thus reducing the many side effects that can occur.

With this funding programme, the BBVA Foundation support highly innovative biomedical research in which involves significant potential advances in understanding diseases and improvements in diagnosis and treatment. It is usually given to at consolidated teams that have a robust, high-quality track record. In the 2018 call, there were 146 projects submitted in total.

The other five winning projects, which will be developed in research centers in Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Salamanca, will look for biomarkers that give early warning of the most aggressive breast cancer; minimize the damage suffered by heart tissue after a heart attack, by visualizing the affected area; find new therapeutic approaches for some pathologies associated with obesity; and understand a possible and little-known link between aging and cancer.

All the selected projects had one of two themes in common: new molecular imaging techniques, or diseases associated with defects in metabolism – which, like obesity, are increasingly prevalent in our society.