medicine

The functioning of an important gene protecting cells from cancer is discovered by a Catalan-American study

July 4, 2013 01:52 AM | CNA

50% of tumours are related to mutations of this gene, according to the researchers. A study developed by the Bellvitge Institute of Biomedical Research (IBIDELL), based in Greater Barcelona, and the University of Cincinnati have discovered the role of the noncoding 5S rRNA molecule. This molecule regulates the P53 Tumour Suppressor Gene, which protects healthy cells from turning into cancerous cells. When the cell functions correctly, the levels of P53 are low and stable, but when something wrong is detected, the levels increase and cause the cell’s death, avoiding the development of a tumour. The director of the study, George Thomas, explained that understanding how the P53 works and regulates itself is extremely important since “more than half of the tumours present mutations of this gene”.

Musical vibes improve in vitro fertilisation according to a Catalan study

July 4, 2013 12:03 AM | CNA

The exposure to music during in vitro fertilisation has a positive impact on the fecundity rate of egg cells according to a study developed by the assisted reproduction centre Institut Marquès, based in Barcelona. The study concludes that the micro vibrations in the music shake the culture liquid in which the ovum swims and this improves the distribution of nutrients and also avoids the accumulation of toxic products. As a result, the fertilisation of the ovum is facilitated and the success rate is improved by 4.8%. Three styles of music were tested (pop, heavy metal and classical) but no significant differences were observed in relation to the different frequencies.

"Despite the crisis in Spain, Barcelona is a city that scores positively in international markets"

June 5, 2013 01:34 AM | Pedro Javier Armengou

Mateu Hernández is the General Director of Barcelona Global, an independent private association that is trying to make Barcelona one of the best cities in the world to attract talent and business activity. Its activities are similar to associations like Partnership for New York, Berlín & Partners and London & Partners, for example. Barcelona Global is made up of the main research centres in the city, prestigious professionals from the Catalan capital or related to it, and more than thirty of the most powerful and innovative companies in Barcelona.

Catalan researchers find a vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes that works on mice

May 17, 2013 10:03 PM | CNA

The vaccine works by re-introducing immune system cells, which have previously been extracted and modified, in order to avoid the destruction of beta cells, which are those producing insulin. The vaccine has been developed by researchers from the Germans Trias Hospital in Badalona, in Greater Barcelona. Furthermore, in February, another group of Catalan scientists announced the cure of Type 1 Diabetes in two dogs, which is the first time this has been successful in large animals. In the last few years, Catalonia and especially Greater Barcelona have become a world centre within the biomedicine sector.

The 2013 BIO-Europe Spring conference turns Barcelona into the capital of the biotechnology sector once again

March 7, 2013 10:22 PM | CNA

Between the 11th and 13th of March, Barcelona will host the spring meeting of Bio-Europe, the continent’s largest partnering conference of the global biotechnology industry, for the second time. 1,300 biomedical companies will participate in the event, with more than 2,000 delegates and executives. 60 out of the 100 Spanish companies attending are from Catalonia. In the last decade, Catalonia, particularly the Greater Barcelona area, has become the most important centre in Southern Europe within the biomedical field and one of the main centres internationally. Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs, Sònia Recasens, praised the importance of the event as it boosts those “added-value sectors that are strategic for the city’s economic growth”.

Catalan Grífols buys 60% of Progenika Biopharma and posts a net profit of €257 million

March 7, 2013 07:26 PM | CNA

The company, which is based in Greater Barcelona, is the world’s third leader in blood derivatives pharmaceutical products. Last year, it bought out its main competitor in the United States, Talecris. Grífols had a €2.62 billion turnover in 2012 and almost doubled its sales compared to the 2011 figures. The company’s net profit last year quadruples that of 2011. The good results are due to a significant reduction in debt levels and Grífols’ penetration into the United States market. Besides, this week it announced it bought for €37 million the 60% of Progenika Biopharma’s capital, a Basque biotechnology company specialised in the design of diagnostic tests.

Survival rate of inoperable lung cancer patients raises to 80% with a pioneering technique developed in Catalonia

March 6, 2013 08:37 PM | CNA / Laia Ros

The Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) has introduced a world pioneering technique which allows four out of five patients who cannot undergo surgery to survive the illness. This technique causes less after-effects than the traditional radiotherapy. Furthermore, statistics show that with the regular treatment, two thirds of these patients die. However, Ferran Gadea, the Head of the Radiotherapy and Oncology Service, says that the best option to cure a lung cancer is still to undergo the operation when possible.

Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital discovers the essential role of a protein for colorectal cancer cell division

March 5, 2013 07:58 PM | CNA / Marine Berton

This is a real stride for the cancer research. The effects of a protein called condensing on colorectal cancer have been found out by a team of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry experts, at the Research Centre for Nanomedicine (CIBBIN-Nanomedicine) at the Vall d'Hebon Research Institute. The researchers have discovered that condensin helps the tumor cells to divide rapidly, so its inhibition leads to the death of tumour cells. The results of this research were published in the 'Journal of Biology and Chemistry', and they constitute a real hope for the fight against colorectal cancer.

A Catalan study shows that a world-pioneering dialysis technique reduces patient mortality by 30%

February 15, 2013 09:10 PM | CNA / Elisenda Rosanas

The technique started in Catalonia in 2007 and by 2011 it was practiced on 40% of patients with renal failure. The Catalan Health Ministry hopes to cover 100% of the cases within the next 5 to 10 years. In the United States it started being used a year ago as they were waiting for clinical results to expand its use. Now, a clinical study on 900 patients from 27 different Catalan centres has proved that the technique reduces mortality by 30% on patients with kidney failure within the first three years. In addition, it improves quality of life, reduces hospitalisations by 22% and it also makes hypotension episodes drop by 28%.

Type 1 diabetes has been totally cured for the first time in large animals thanks to the work of Catalan researchers

February 7, 2013 11:14 PM | CNA / María Belmez

Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have managed to completely cure dogs with type 1 diabetes through a single session of gene therapy. It is the first time ever that the effectiveness of a treatment against this illness in large animals has been proved in the world. This achievement opens the door to being able to translate a similar therapy to humans and cure type 1 diabetes, which currently has no cure and means that patients have to control their blood insulin levels for their whole lives through hormone injections, as untreated it can be fatal. Diabetes mellitus type 1 is an autoimmune illness that destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, an essential hormone in the process of transforming glucose into energy for the body’s cells.

Catalan centres are at the core of the billion-euro graphene and human brain research projects funded by the European Commission

January 30, 2013 10:17 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Through its FET-Flagship programme, the European Commission is allocating €1 billion to each of the two main research projects in Europe. The first one is a project to explore the properties of graphene, a new material deriving from graphite that might revolutionise industry as silicon did a few decades ago. The second one will simulate a human brain in order to understand how it exactly works. The Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology is one of the nine leading institutes coordinating the graphene project, in which 623 research groups from 32 different countries will participate. Furthermore, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center will take care of the calculations at a molecular level in the Human Brain Project.

Catalan scientists discover that umbilical cord stem cells can treat heart attacks and strokes

January 25, 2013 08:06 PM | CNA / Laia Ros

According to experiments tested on mice, Catalan scientists have affirmed that the stem cells located in the human umbilical chord, which are multipotential and therefore can become different types of cells, can be used to regenerate the tissue affected by a heart attack or a stroke. Until now the only way to recover the damaged tissue was through pharmacological treatment or a heart transplant.

Time spent between the first and the second chemotherapy treatment increases survival rate in bladder cancer

January 23, 2013 06:17 PM | CNA / Rosa Soto

A research group led by Catalan doctor Joaquim Bellmunt at the Hospital del Mar has shown in a study how important the time between two chemotherapy treatments is in increasing the curing rates of bladder cancer. The study was published by the journal ‘European Urology’ and has encouraged the researchers to develop new drugs for treating this type of tumour.

Treating HIV just after the infection delays the damage to the immune system

January 18, 2013 12:11 AM | CNA

An international study with the participation of the Hospital Clínic IDIBAPS, which is a leading research centre at a world level on AIDS/HIV and other common diseases, has proved that an anti-retroviral treatment carried out just after the infection delays the damage to the patient’s immune system and reduces the risk of transmission. The results of clinical tests on 366 infected individuals confirmed that the sooner and longer an initial anti-retroviral treatment is applied, the later the life-long treatments have to start. However, despite the results, researchers insist that is still too soon to change the current AIDS/HIV treatment protocols.