Regenerative medicine is a common challenge
NanoGUNE and Inbiomed have signed an agreement to promote synergies between regenerative medicine and nanotechnology in the area of tissue engineering. The first project has been already launched to face the challenge of growing neurons in vitro from stem cells. These neurons could offer a substantial improvement in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson.
The agreement, signed by Jose Maria Pitarke, Director of nanoGUNE, and Gurutz Linazasoro, Executive President of the Inbiomed Foundation, establishes a framework for cooperation in order to develop collaborative research, sharing knowledge and facilities. The cooperation and complementarity of these two institutions will allow facing challenges that would be impossible to tackle separately. The agreement has been possible thanks to the agreement of both institutions with a world-class multidisciplinary research activity, with a clear orientation to the exploitation of results.
Inbiomed is a private research foundation dedicated to biomedical research and regenerative medicine, located at the Miramon Technology Park at Donostia-San Sebastian. Its research is focused on the biology of adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with a strong interest in their application in the fields of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Toward a new treatment for neurodegenerative diseases
The possibility of growing neurons from stem cells could offer new alternatives to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson. The artificially grown neurons could be introduced in the damaged areas of the brain to promote the healing of the area with an important impact on the life quality of the patient. Unfortunately, the present technology only allows the survival of the artificially grown neurons for a period of time of around two weeks, too short for a proper development of the cells.
In this project, the Self-Assembly Group at nanoGUNE, led by the Ikerbasque Research Professor Alex Bittner, will work on the development of a nanomaterial suitable for growing neurons under conditions nearly equivalent to those inside the brain. They plan to use the natural proteins present inside the brain to create an artificial nest where neurons could grow in an environment that reproduces the appropriate conditions, till they are mature enough to be used in the regenerative therapies.
From the other side, Rosario Sánchez Pernaute, Coordinator of the Neurodegenerative Diseases Program at Inbiomed, is already working with processes for growing neurons, and with regenerative treatments.
The project is only the first example of the very interesting outcomes that could be obtained from the collaboration of two centers that work in apparently unconnected areas, but that can collaborate to face very complex and multidisciplinary research projects.