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Researchers are developing a biomaterial capable of combating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease



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A team of scientists achieved functional recovery of mice after a stroke after implanting stem cells encapsulated in hydrogels made of silk fibroin.

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Author: Alberto Iglesias Fraga

Mexico City, November 10 (TICbeat / SinEmbargo). – Imagine: some scientists implant encapsulated stem cells in a harmless biomaterial and completely biocompatible, thanks to which they achieve functional recovery of people who have undergone a cerebral infarction, repair of nervous tissue damaged and avoiding prolongation of injury.

It sounds like science fiction, but nothing is further from reality. A team of scientists from the Biomedical Technology Center at Madrid Polytechnic University (UPM), in collaboration with the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), the Cajal Institute and San Carlos Clinical Hospital, has developed exactly this: mouse stroke mice encapsulated stem cells in hydrogels silk fibroin.

A wide range of neurological diseases causes permanent physical and cognitive impairment. Our nervous system has a very limited ability to regenerate after injury, which happens on the one hand in strokes and brain injuries, and on the other in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer & # 39; s or Parkinson where the deterioration of the function of our brain progresses. Stem cell therapy was a huge strategic step in the treatment of these diseases, due to its therapeutic potential to protect and repair the damaged brain. However, stem cell transplantation is not without difficulties, including its reduced survival in the brain after transplantation, which is an important barrier to achieving the highest possible therapeutic efficacy.

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To overcome this barrier, Spanish scientists have developed an innovative bioengineering strategy to repair damaged brain tissue. To do this, they used mice with cerebral infarction to which stem cells of mesenchymal origin were implanted in an innocent and completely biocompatible biomaterial: silk fibroin. After treatment, the mice experienced a significant improvement in their sensory and motor skills, which were profoundly altered after cerebral infarction. In addition, using electrophysiological techniques, the researchers showed that this functional improvement was accompanied by the phenomena of brain reorganization in areas adjacent to the damage zone. An important aspect of this study was that silk fibroin significantly increased the survival of implanted stem cells in the brain, preventing further damage from induced brain stroke in animals.

According to Daniel González Nieto, a CTM UPM researcher, "these results open up a promising path to the treatment of neurological disorders through a new type of advanced therapy based on the use of silk fibroin as a drug delivery and cell carrier, thereby increasing therapeutic efficacy and functional improvement of patients".

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