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IBEC and IRB Barcelona researchers receive funding from “La Caixa” for biomedical research

Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Barcelona Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB) -based in the Barcelona Science Park- are part of the winning projects of the third Call for Applications Health Research Projects organized by "La Caixa " Foundation, which this year allocates 18 million euros to 25 biomedical projects to tackle those diseases with the greatest global impact, such as cardiovascular, neurological, infectious and oncological.

Two IBEC projects, which aim to use innovative techniques to decipher the mechanisms that promote metastasis in colorectal cancer, have been selected to receive funding from the third edition of the “Health Research Call” from the “La Caixa” Foundation.

The PROMISE project, led by Elena Martínez, group leader at IBEC and Professor at the University of Barcelona, aims to develop a novel platform that will mimic the tumor vascular microenvironment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in order to help doctors to find the best therapeutic approach and help monitoring the course of the disease. This innovative platform will merge state-of-the-art techniques such as bioprinting, biomaterials and microfluidics, to create a device that will recreate the tumor environment from cancer cells derived from patients themselves, providing relevant information on the underlying mechanisms of metastasis. To achieve its objectives, Elena Martínez’s team at IBEC will have the collaboration of the International Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) and the Vall Hebrón Oncology Research Institute (VHIO).

On the other hand, the Mech4Cancer project, led by researchers Xavier Trepat and Pere Roca-Cusachs, will seek to develop sensors that help visualize how forces affect cells and promote the progression of colorectal cancer. More information at IBEC’s website [+]

Another of the projects chosen in this “la Caixa” call is that of the IRB Barcelona researcher Manuel Palacín, who aims to find treatments for schizophrenia and stroke. This initiative investigates the atomic structure of a key amino acid transporter protein to regulate these glutamate receptors, with the goal of designing new compounds targeting this transporter to activate neurotransmitter receptors, in the case of schizophrenia, or to inhibit them, in the one of other pathologies, like the stroke.
More information at IRB Barcelona’s website [+]