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Manuel Palacín receives a ”La Caixa” Biomedical Research Project

4 Sep 20




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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

Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a seal that was awarded in 2011. The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 27 laboratories and eight core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 employees and more than 30 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona is a CERCA center, and a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).