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.

Controlling brain states with a ray of light 

A study led by researchers from IBEC and IDIBAPS achieves, for the first time, the control of brain state transitions using a molecule responsive to light, named PAI.  The results not only pave the way to act on the brain patterns activity, but they also could lead to the development of photomodulated drugs for the treatment of brain lesions or diseases such as depression, bipolar disorders or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases. 

New molecules allow to switch on and off neuronal circuits using light

Researchers from IBEC, in collaboration with an international team, describe the first molecules capable of regulate glycine receptors with light: Glyght and Azo-NZ1. The new molecules are a promising way to study neuronal circuits, to develop drug-based phototherapies non-invasively, and to understand neurological disorders related with the incorrect functioning of glycine receptors, as hyperekplexia, epilepsy and autism.

IBEC participates in European Project developing new technologies for the study and treatment of neurological diseases

Pau Gorostiza and his team at IBEC participates in the DEEPER project which aims at creating new tools for accessing the deep brain with unprecedented precision for the study and treatment of neurological diseases. The project involves 12 partners in 8 countries, and it has been funded by the European Union with approximately 5.7 million euros for the next 4 years.