Friday February 27th, 2009

Principal Cause of Cerebral Atrophy in Multiple Sclerosis Unknown.

Dr. Pablo Villoslada

Until now, it was thought that the lesions or plaques observed in the white matter were the cause of the damage to the brain. New data indicates that these plaques account for only 30% of the atrophy in the grey matter; other unexplained neurodegenerative mechanisms are therefore also implicated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuesday February 24th, 2009

A New Technology Identifies Genes Implicated in the Development of Liver Cancer.

Dr. Augusto Villanueva i Dr. Josep Mª Llovet

This study, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology and led by Dr. Josep Maria Llovet of Hospital Clínic de  Barcelona – IDIBAPS together with researchers from the University of Minnesota (USA), describes for the first time a new technology for genetic manipulation in experimental animals for identifying therapeutic targets that facilitate the development of drugs that improve patient outcome.

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Friday February 20th, 2009

Stem Cells to Treat Crohn’s Disease

When drugs don’t work and surgery is not possible, transplanting stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow is an effective alternative for the treatment of this chronic disease.

Equip mèdic de l'Hospital Clínic amb els tres pacients intervinguts

Cellular therapy with stem cells is revolutionizing the focus of treatment of many serious diseases. Replacing the cells of damaged tissue with other new cells from the same patient is already a reality. This is the basis of cellular therapy and regenerative medicine, the latest great advance in biomedicine. In this line, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona is leading the world in the application of an innovative cellular therapy that uses stem cells to treat Crohn’s disease, a chronic genetic disease that affects 1% of the population in Spain and which has considerable impact on the quality of life of the patients. The procedure is based on an autologous bone-marrow transplant (when patients receive a transplant of their own stem cells) and now constitutes a treatment option to cure an intestinal disease that sometimes does not successfully respond to drugs and requires highly complex surgery that does not provide a cure.

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Chagas Disease: a Disease Without Frontiers

Vídeo Clínic-UB sobre què és la Malaltia de Chagas i per què és un problema global. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wednesday February 18th, 2009

Women hold only 13% of top posts in hospitals

Dra. Pilar Arrizabalaga

The proportion of women who study medicine and who hold posts in resident programs for medical specialization has increased considerably in the past 3 decades. They currently represent 50% of practicing doctors and more than 80% of recently qualified doctors. A study published in the  Journal of Medical Ethics and carried out in Hospital Sant Pau and Hospital Clínic, Barcelona shows that the proportion of women holding positions of responsibility in these hospitals represents only 13%, a figure which has remained constant between 2002 and 2006. The study was carried out by Dr. Amparo Santamaría of the hematology department of Hospital Sant Pau and Dr. Pilar Arrizabalaga of the nephrology department of Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, as first and second authors, respectively.

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The TRPV4 receptor plays a key role in the death of pancreatic cells induced by amyloid fibers

Anna Novials

Amyloid is a pathologic substance mostly consisting of proteins such as amylin, which can become deposited on different organs and tissues. In some degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, the formation of ordered amyloid fibers has been observed in places where cell death occurs. In patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus, islets of amyloid have been found within the islets of Langerhans, the collection of pancreatic cells with an endocrine function. These amyloid deposits are found in regions with cellular degeneration and have therefore been associated with the progression of the diabetes.

An IDIBAPS study published on the front page of Diabetologia (51(12):2252-62) by the team led by Dr. Anna Novials analyzes the mechanisms by which these amyloid fibers are associated with the death by apoptosis of pancreatic cells. The results show that abnormal concentrations of calcium play a key role in the toxicity induced by the amyloid. The hypothesis put forward in the article suggests that TRPV4, a channel to the cell surface that is sensitive to mechanical and osmotic changes, becomes activated in response to physical alterations caused by the aggregation of fibers around the cells. This would activate the process that leads to cell death by apoptosis: the entry of calcium into the cell, that the polarized nation of the membrane, and the activation of L-type calcium channels.

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