Maria Macias, Pau Martín, and Joan Massagué publish a featured review article in Trends in Biochemical Sciences (TIBS) on the Smad protein family, the members of which play a key role in cancer.
The article is accompanied by a web application in which available 3D structures of Smads can be explored, as can their alterations in several metazoa, their variability in humans, and their mutations in tumours.
Researchers at IRB Barcelona study CEP63, a gene that is mutated in Seckel Syndrome, a rare disease that causes microcephaly and growth defects.
The protein CEP63 is crucial for the correct division of brain stem cells. In its absence, mice reproduce Seckel Syndrome.
The scientists rescued the microcephaly during mouse embryonic development by removing a protein that caused the loss of stem cells.
Also, CEP63-depleted male mice are infertile. The relationship between this protein and sperm production is revealed for the first time.
A study done on fruit flies and published in Nature Communications reveals that the protein dDsk2, in addition to degrading proteins, also plays a key role in regulating gene expression.
This protein is also present in humans and is known to be mutated in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. But the mechanism by which these mutations contribute to the development of disease remains unclear.
IRB Barcelona is to start a study to examine the relationship between dDsk2 mutations and neurodegenerative diseases.
dSysMap (which stands for “Disease-mutations Systemic Mapping”) is a computational tool to interpret the effect of genetic mutations on the development of complex diseases.
The tool allows researchers to explore how alterations in more than 2,000 proteins affect the diverse biological functions in which these molecules are involved.
The Pan-Cancer consortium has included the tool in order to gain a more global view of the causes of tumour development.
A study published in Nature Genetics by researchers at IRB Barcelona explains the basis for the classification of colon tumours in good or bad prognosis by analysing the tissue surrounding the tumour cells.
The scientists are currently developing a test that enables the identification of patients at risk of relapse after surgical removal of the tumour by measuring 4-6 genes expressed by the tumour microenvironment.
The researchers also propose to test in patients a particular drug that blocks the metastatic capacity of colorectal cancers in mice.
This drug has been tested using novel technology that allows the growth of mini colon cancers, also known as organoids, derived from patient samples.
Chemists at IRB Barcelona patent and present a shuttle capable of transporting molecules into the brain; this achievement could facilitate the treatment of diseases with no therapy available.
98% of drugs targeting the central nervous system are discarded because they are unable to cross the physical barrier that protects the brain.
The IRB Barcelona scientists, together with clinical teams, are now evaluating the potential of their shuttle for rare and orphan diseases.
Researchers in Barcelona discover more potential candidates on the route to tailored, photo-switchable therapies by disproving design limitation
Researchers at IRB Barcelona identify a family of efficient and selective molecules to combat the parasite Plasmodium, causal agent of malaria.
Two analogues of borrelidin were found to cure 100% of infected mice and produce immunological memory in these animals, a property not previously observed in an antimalarial drug.
Growing resistance to current treatment for malaria increases the need for new drug candidates.
The analysis of drugs, natural products, and chemical substances found in the environment allows the identification of the chemical fragments responsible for a therapeutic or deleterious effect on human health.
This knowledge may be valuable for the design of drugs with fewer secondary effects, for associating diseases, and for identifying new uses for drugs currently on the market.
The predictive model developed by researchers at IRB Barcelona provides information for the treatment of 20% of human diseases.
Mice eat less when their hepatic glucose stores are high.
“We have to find treatments to increase hepatic glucose because of its positive effect in diabetes and obesity,” says Joan Guinovart, head of the study published in Diabetes.