The biotechnology company Iproteos, IBEC and the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) are set to develop an innovative treatment to slow down, stop and even reverse the growth of solid tumors, which represent more than 90% of cancer cases.
It’s a family of peptidomimetic drugs based on a totally new anti-tumor action mechanism, the result of several years of research by Pere Roca-Cusachs’ group at IBEC.
An opinion piece by IBEC group leader Xavier Trepat has appeared in the News and Views section of the current issue of Nature, which is devoted to ‘Bottom-up biology’.
In his piece ‘Bottom does not explain top’, Xavier argues that understanding how complex biological structures – or even entire cells – are built can only provide a certain amount of insight into how biological systems function at higher levels of organization. There are many variables such as density, or even pathologies suffered by the subject, that affect cell behavior at the mesoscale – that is, at the longer, more ‘system-level’ scale than that of the individual components of an organism. Cells in a group, for example, can sense or respond to external stimuli that an individual cell cannot identify.
Mechano·Control is holding its third consortium meeting today at University Medical Center Utrecht.
Representatives from all seven partners – the UPC and Mind the Byte S.L. in Spain, UMC Utrecht and Noviocell B.V in the Netherlands, Germany’s Leibniz-Institut, and King’s College London – have gathered in the Netherlands for the meeting, which will present and discuss the state of the work packages and results so far.
During the meeting, issues related to the dissemination and exploitation of the project will also be reviewed.
One of the most enviable features of superheroes is their ability to stretch their bodies beyond imaginable limits. In a study published in Nature, scientists have discovered that our cells can do just that.
With every beat of the heart and every breath into the lungs, cells in our body are routinely subjected to extreme stretching. This stretching is even more pronounced when cells shape our organs at the embryo stage, and when they invade tissues through narrow pores during cancer metastasis – but how cells undergo such large deformations without breaking has remained a mystery until now.
This week, researchers at IBEC and the UPC report a new physical property of cells – which they’re calling active superelasticity – that may explain the unusual ability of cells to undergo extreme deformations.
The team, led by Marino Arroyo and Xavier Trepat (centre and right), developed a new approach to subject epithelial tissues – the thin cellular layers that cover internal and external surfaces of the body – to very large deformations, up to four times their original size. These cellular layers are fundamental to life, as they protect the body from radiation, pollutants and pathogens. They’re also responsible for gas exchange in the lungs, absorption of nutrients in the gut, and excretion of urine in the kidneys.
On Friday last week MECHANO-CONTROL, the largest European project ever coordinated at IBEC, held its kick-off meeting at the institute.
Pere Roca-Cusachs’ project, which is funded by H2020’s FET Proactive programme, will focus on understanding and controlling how cells transmit and detect mechanical forces, with the aim of coming up with new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches for cancer and other diseases.
Mind the Byte is one of the partners in the Mechano-Control research project slated to receive €7 million in funding over the next five years to develop therapies for cancer, fibrosis and other diseases. Coordinated by Dr Pere Roca-Cusachs, head researcher at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and adjunct professor at the University of Barcelona, Mechano-Control is one of 12 projects that have been selected from the 210 applications submitted from around Europe in the latest call launched by the Horizon 2020 FET Proactive programme.
January 2017 sees the start of the largest European project ever coordinated at IBEC, Pere Roca-Cusachs’ MECHANOCONTROL, which aims to come up with new therapeutic or diagnostic approaches for cancer and other diseases.
Funded under Horizon 2020’s FET Proactive programme, which helps new research communities to be developed by encouraging researchers from different disciplines to work together, MECHANOCONTROL will focus on understanding and controlling how cells transmit and detect mechanical forces.