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Manuel Palacín receives a ”La Caixa” Biomedical Research Project




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The project led by Manuel Palacín, head of the Amino Acid Transporters and Disease Laboratory, seeks to develop drugs against schizophrenia and stroke.

”la Caixa” Foundation has devoted €18 M to 25 cutting-edge biomedical research projects devoted to diseases with the greatest impact worldwide, such as cardiovascular, neurological, infectious and oncological diseases.

”la Caixa” Foundation has awarded €18 M to 25 research projects in its latest Health Research Call. One of the projects selected for funding is that led by IRB Barcelona researcher Manuel Palacín, who seeks to develop treatments for schizophrenia and stroke (ictus).

Stroke and schizophrenia are characterised by failure in the receptors that allow the correct signalling of one of the main neurotransmitters, glutamate, a key molecule for neuronal function. One of the hypotheses regarding schizophrenia is that limited neuronal transmission causes cognitive deficits, while in other conditions, such as stroke, there is exacerbated transmission of these receptors, which leads to neuronal toxicity. By examining the atomic structure of an amino acid transporter that is key for the regulation of these glutamate receptors, this project aims to design new compounds that target this transporter in order to activate the receptors of the neurotransmitter in the context of schizophrenia or to inhibit them in other diseases such as stroke.

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About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).