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The PCB adds a new multiple sclerosis research laboratory

By 13 de January de 2009November 18th, 2020No Comments
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The PCB adds a new multiple sclerosis research laboratory

Barcelona Science Park has added a new neuro-immunology laboratory connected to the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS: Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer). The new facility is led by researcher Pablo Villoslada, a PhD in neurology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. This group's activities centre on two lines of research: the first studies the origin of multiple sclerosis via the use of computational and mathematical tools; the second explores new treatments and methods of diagnosis for this and other auto-immune illnesses. The team is made up of 8 people and is currently installed in the Hèlix Building and the Philosophy Building.

Within the line of research of new therapeutic strategies, and in collaboration with the firm , Villoslada’s team is working on the development of a new molecule with immunomodelling action called methylthioadenosine (patent granted). Their studies thus also involve the actions of two other molecules that could prove useful to reinforce the immune system response, in treating both cerebral tumours and auto-immune diseases.

In the field of diagnostics, they have developed jointly with a DNA chip to predict the clinical course of multiple sclerosis, since the evolution of this disease—which can last for more than 40 years—is highly variable. At present it is thus difficult to predict how those affected will evolve. In order to advance in this area, the group is also working on the development of a computer-assisted application that will be made available to all medical personnel and that is based on already established clinical data from patient follow-ups.

The Neuro-immunology Laboratory currently collaborates on different projects with other firms installed in the PCB, such as , and the research group Neurobiology for Development and for cellular regeneration, headed by Dr Eduardo Soriano of the .

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative affliction of the central nervous system. It has no cure and its exact causes are unknown. The disease can reduce mobility and cause invalidity in the most severe cases. At present, and 15 years after its appearance, 50% of patients maintain a high degree of mobility, and only 10% of those affected die because of MS or of complications deriving from it. It is, after epilepsy, the most frequent neurological disorder among young adults (from whose population poliomyelitis has been eradicated) and the most frequent cause of paralysis in the West. According to data from the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (), it is estimated that there are 30,000 people affected in Spain, and half a million in the European Union. The current treatments are based on immunomodulators that aid in partial prevention of the appearance of new episodes; however, new treatments must be developed that enable improvement in control of the disease and of patient quality of life.