A research project led by the University of Coimbra (UC), the University of Beira Interior (UBI) and Stemlab (owner of Crioestaminal) will receive 150 thousand euros for the development of a new therapy for ischemic cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) from stem cells.
With this research, the team aims to bring new answers to the constraints in accessing treatments for this health problem.
Supported by the “la Caixa” Foundation – within the scope of the Promove competition, carried out in collaboration with BPI and in partnership with the Foundation for Science and Technology –, the REPAIR project – Repair and Recovery in ischemic stroke: new cell therapy strategies will be ongoing for three years, “joining efforts between academia and industry to use cell therapy and its modelling by exposure to a hypoxic atmosphere, that is, oxygen levels lower than those normally applied in laboratory conditions”, explains the researcher at the UC Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC-UC), Bruno Manadas.
Ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is reduced or interrupted, affecting brain cells, which no longer function normally due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients.
This new treatment that is being developed by the REPAIR team is based on the administration of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells, or their secretome, in the post-acute phase of ischemic stroke (the phase following the critical period, when it must be implemented the treatment). These approaches have revealed enormous therapeutic potential in several serious diseases in preclinical models and, in the case of ischemic stroke, they can be decisive for “the paracrine modulation of inflammatory processes and neuroprotection, crucial elements for reducing capacity losses and accelerating the process of functional recovery”, explains Bruno Manadas.
The REPAIR project team also includes the CNC-UC researcher and professor at the UC Faculty of Science and Technology, Carlos Duarte; the professor and researcher at UBI, Graça Baltazar; and the head of Research and Development at Crioestaminal, Carla Cardoso.
The project also has the collaboration of the director of the Neurovascular Research Unit at the Complutense University of Madrid, Ignacio Lizasoain.