During the visit, the President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, and the Minister of Health, Manel Balcells i Díaz, were able to learn first-hand about several examples of the application of bioengineering in the development of advanced therapies carried out at IBEC.
The President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, and the Minister of Health, Manel Juncosa y Díaz, visited IBEC today. During the visit, they could see firsthand several examples of the application of bioengineering in the development of advanced therapies.
First, they visited the laboratories of the research group Pluripotency for Organ Regeneration, led by Núria Montserrat, ICREA research professor. Elena Bofarull, one of the group’s researchers, showed them the facilities and explained their research about organoids. They are “mini-organs” grown in vitro from stem cells with similar structure and operation to actual organs. Thus, they serve as a tool to test the effectiveness and toxicity of drugs in a personalized way or, for example, the relationship between diabetes and COVID-19 through mini kidneys.
Next, the president and the counselor had the oppotunity to talk with Zaida Álvarez, Ramón y Cajal Researcher at IBEC, who told them about her research focused on the treatment of spinal cord injuries using nanorobots.
Finally, the director of IBEC, Josep Samitier, highlighted two lines of research that are carried out at the Institute related to 3D bioprinting. On the one hand, the biobots developed in the group of Smart nano-bio-devices led by Samuel Sánchez, ICREA research professor. These are small robots based on muscle cells that can swim and glide like fish.
On the other hand, Samitier spoke about the joint research agreement between the company Avent and the research group of Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies of IBEC led by Elisabeth Engel, which aims to develop bone prostheses that are capable of regenerating the patient’s own bone.
“In Catalonia, we have extraordinary potential to develop the advanced therapies sector and put ourselves at the forefront of what is the frontier of knowledge and application of knowledge in health worldwide,” said President Aragonès during the visit.
This visit is part of the project to create the new National Center for Advanced Therapies that the Government has commissioned to the Health Department. The creation of this center, of which IBEC will be one of the participating actors, is intended to ensure patient access to research in advanced therapies and increase the capacity of hospitals to carry out clinical trials in these therapies.