3D printing biocompatible hydrogels

IBEC researchers have laid the groundwork for faster advances in 3D bioprinting for regenerative medicine by creating a system of ink and matrices that offers a solid basis for tissue regeneration.

Due to their high water content, hydrogels are highly attractive biomaterials for 3D printing as efficient ‘surrogates’ for the extracellular matrix, onto which cells can be cultured. However, while they are relatively easy to produce using a method called extrusion printing, their stability and structural integrity can weaken when they’re in contact with biological fluids or extracellular matrices.

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How tumor cells hijack healthy cells to promote metastasis

In a study published today in Nature Cell Biology and supported by Obra Social “la Caixa”, researchers at IBEC have identified an interaction between two proteins that enables cancerous cells to use the physical forces of healthy cells to start tumor metastasis.

Metastasis, responsible for the majority of deaths in patients with cancer, is the process by which cancer cells separate from the original tumor to form new tumors in other organs or tissues of the body.

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Light-regulated drugs as analgesics

A new study involving scientists from IBEC, IQAC/CSIC and CNRS in France uses light-regulated drugs to alleviate the negative emotions associated with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than six months. Its origin can be both physiological and emotional, and it is accompanied by symptoms such as hypersensitivity, anxiety and depressive behavior. It has no cure, treatment is difficult, and current drugs don’t alleviate the symptoms.

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New DNA-based technique for depositing materials with a resolution of less than 10 nanometers

adnorigamiA study led by CSIC and involving IBEC researchers proposes a new technique using molecules ‘a la carte’ to obtain nanoscale surfaces that will have many useful applications in microelectronics and biomedicine. The work has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.

The new method means that researchers can obtain nanoscale surfaces with many molecules arranged in an ordered way.

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Using EFM to probe the secrets of bacterial endospore survival strategies

acs-nano-gabrielwebAn IBEC group has demonstrated, for the first time, that the hydration properties of a single bacterial endospore in varying environmental relative humidity can be determined with high accuracy and reproducibility, and in a non-destructive way, shedding new light on endospore survival strategies.

Endospores are recognized as the hardiest form of life on Earth, and are produced by certain bacterial cells in response to a lack of nutrients.

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Record-breaking nanojets that use safe fuel

samuelrecordIBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sanchez’s latest nanojets have set a new world record for the smallest man-made jet engine ever.

As well as using a safe new method of propulsion, the tubular nanoscale engines are also three times smaller than the previous Guinness Book of Records entry – which was also set by Samuel, in a collaboration with colleagues at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden.

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Molecules activated by light to control glutamate receptors

immunoliposomes Researchers at IBEC, IQAC-CSIC and CNRS have developed molecules that can modulate the activity of glutamate receptors in the central nervous system, with important applications in biomedicine.

For the last few years the collaborators have been working on the development of molecules called targeted covalent photoswitches (TCPs), whose structure can be changed using light. This change in shape causes the molecule to be recognized – or not – by a biological receptor as a key is to a lock. This coupling activates the receptor or not, triggering the activity.

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Drug-loaded nanovectors covered with antibodies represent an innovative approach to combat malaria


A study led by Xavier Fernández Busquets, director of the joint ISGlobal-IBEC Nanomalaria unit, describes an innovative approach to selectively eliminate red blood cells infected by Plasmodium falciparum, avoid their aggregation, and inhibit parasite growth.

The strategy, based on the use of nanovesicles coated with antibodies that target a parasite protein, and loaded with an antimalarial drug, represents a promising alternative in the treatment of severe malaria.

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