The first light-controlled drug that could improve the hearing of people with cochlear implants

Researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) in Spain and the University Medical Center Göttingen in Germany achieve, for the first time, in vivo light-activated auditory stimulation without the need for genetic manipulation. This new light-controlled drug, capable of triggering the neural pathways involved in hearing, can contribute to improving the spectral resolution of cochlear implants used by people with profound hearing loss or deafness.

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Nanorobots to fight bacterial infections

Researchers develop self-contained micro- and nanorobots with antimicrobial activity, capable of attacking bacteria in the site of infection. The work has been led by Samuel Sánchez (Institute for Bioengineering of Catalunya (IBEC) and Cesar de la Fuente-Núñez (University of Pennsylvania, USA). The new technology, tested in mice, is a valuable tool for the treatment of bacterial infections in a controlled and localized way. In a future not so far, it could help combat infections.

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Innovative bioengineered spheres might help treating diabetes

Researchers from IBEC, in collaboration with IDIBAPS in Barcelona, have developed nontoxic small spheres able to respond to variations in glucose levels, and producing insulin in vitro. These biomimetic spheroids containing pancreatic β-cells were prepared based on 3D bioprinting. This approach might help in the future improving clinical outcomes of β-cell transplantation strategies for diabetes treatment, as well as for in vitro drug screening platforms.

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Cell fusion ‘awakens’ regenerative potential of human retina

Fusing human retinal cells with adult stem cells could be a potential therapeutic strategy to treat retinal damage and visual impairment, according to the findings of a new study published in the journal eBioMedicine, with participation of Nuria Montserrat´s Group at IBEC. The hybrid cells act by awakening the regenerative potential of human retinal tissue, previously only thought to be the preserve of cold-blood vertebrates.

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Detecting lung infections with breath analysis and machine learning

IBEC researchers, together with clinicians from Sant Pau Hospital and Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, use “electronic noses” and machine learning to analyse the breath of patients, identifying with high accuracy those with lung infections of P. aeruginosa, a multidrug resistant pathogen. This method could represent a non-invasive and efficient tool to diagnose and monitor patients with a bacterial lung infection, offering a faster alternative to standard sputum cultures.

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Reducing animal testing with 3D Bioprinting: European project BRIGHTER brings new light

The European project BRIGHTER, coordinated by IBEC, is developing a new technology to produce functional human tissues as an alternative to animal experimentation in the field of biomedical research. This light-based 3D bioprinting technology fabricates tissues by patterning three-dimensional cell cultures. In the future, it could be even used to produce organs in the laboratory.

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Unraveling the cell’s sweet spot from nature

In a recent Nature chemical biology paper, a team of researchers from ICMS/TUE and IBEC, together with researchers from Leiden University unravel the interactions of individual sugar molecules with cells using super-resolution microscopy. The paper appeared on the cover of the November issue of the journal.

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