Researchers induce brain activation using infrared light-controlled drugs

A pioneering study led by IBEC in collaboration with ICFO has unveiled a method to control brain activity in living organisms using drugs activated by infrared light. This cutting-edge technique activates a specific neurotransmitter receptor using light that can penetrate deep into tissue and offers unparalleled pharmacological and spatiotemporal precision in three dimensions. The findings open new frontiers for neurobiology research and the development of light-based noninvasive neuromodulation therapies.

An artificial muscle to study Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Developed by the IBEC, this system is created using patient cells and represents the first 3D muscle model capable of replicating the damage caused by Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The next phase of this project involves the development of an organ-on-a-chip platform, enabling more efficient preclinical studies of potential drugs and enhanced monitoring of muscle damage. Funding for this research has been provided by Duchenne Parent Project Spain, a non-profit association led by families with children affected by this form of dystrophy.

Cough sound analyzed to identify the severity of COVID-19 patients

A research team led by IBEC and Hospital del Mar has conducted a study to analyze cough sounds recorded by smartphones in patients with COVID-19. The results reveal cough characteristics that could offer a quick, easy, and cost-effective method for identifying the severity of the disease in patients, whether at home or in any healthcare setting. This work also paves the way for utilizing this model in the ongoing monitoring of patients with persistent COVID-19 and other respiratory pathologies.

Preventing the tissue’s response to stiffness may be key to slowing the progression of breast tumors

A study led by the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia demonstrates that laminin, a protein present in breast tissues, prevents the effects of stiffening, protecting cells against tumor growth. While the mechanism has been demonstrated in vitro, persuasive indications suggest its potential applicability in vivo, as observed in patient samples.

Researchers design a microfluidics device to predict cancer therapy response

One of the great challenges in the fight against cancer is to design new technologies for a personalized treatment for each patient. Depending on the molecular characteristics —DNA mutations for instance— of each tumour, precision medicine aims to make it easier for cancer patients, both adult and paediatric, to receive a personalized treatment that is appropriate to their pathology. But is it possible to know whether or not a patient can benefit from a treatment before starting therapy?

A blood-brain barrier on a chip to study drugs against Alzheimer’s

A study led by the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) describes the development of an organ-on-a-chip that mimics the human blood-brain barrier. With this system, researchers can study the barrier permeability to different drugs and screen the most effective ones, avoiding animal tests. The device could also incorporate cells from patients to make a personalized study of the disease.