Reduction of mortality in adults hospitalized for flu

31 03 2014

An antiviral therapy reduces mortality a 25% in adults hospitalized for flu.

The study was conducted in 29.000 patients during the pandemic of the H1N1 virus.


El investigador Jordi Carratalà

Researcher Jordi Carratalà

An international study concludes that adults hospitalized with the H1N1 flu virus during the pandemic of the years 2009-2010 They presented a 25 % less than mortality if it was them in the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral drug. It is a meta-analysis with more of 29.000 posted patients in The Lancet Respiratory Medical Journal and that it has merited an editorial of the journal.


The work, It has counted with the participation of the research group on respiratory infections in the immunocompromised host of the Institute of biomedical research of Bellvitge (IDIBELL) led by Jordi Carratalà, Head of the Department of infectious diseases of the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge, It also indicates that treatment during the first two days of the development of the flu reduces by half the risk of death compared with a more delayed treatment or no treatment .


“These results allow us to propose a strategy of antiviral therapy in patients hospitalized with seasonal flu during the first 48 hours, also in how pregnant patients at risk, patients with heart disease… thus reducing the risk of death in a room” explained Carratalá.


Antiviral therapy

The drug tested during the pandemic is an inhibitor of the neuraminidase, a protein found in the surface of the membrane of the virus and that allows you to enter healthy cells and infect them to replicate.


“So far had failed to be a study so conclusive that normally seasonal flu does not cause as many hospitalizations as the pandemic did” It has been argued Carratalá, who says that one of the benefits of the treatment is that “actúa contra todos los virus de la gripe y por lo tanto se podrá utilizar como estrategia contra la gripe estacional”.


The article reference

Stella G Muthuri, Sudhir Venkatesan et al.  Effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors in reducing mortality in patients admitted to hospital with influenza A H1N1pdm09 virus infection: a meta-analysis of individual participant data. Lancet Respir Med 2014 . Published Online March 19, 2014 [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 31 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 27 March of 2014] Available on Internet: http://modul/noticias/es/674/un-tratamiento-antiviral-reduce-la-mortalidad-un-25-en-adultos-hospitalizados-por-gripe

New method to monitor multiple myeloma treatments

27 03 2014

The Centro de Investigación del Cancer de Salamanca has developed a more sensitive procedure to detect more reliably if patients have minimal residual disease.

Mieloma Múltiple

Multiple Myeloma


Cancer Research Center (CIC) Salamanca has developed a new method that enables a more reliable way to monitor treatments against the multiple myeloma, detecting better if patients continue to have minimal residual disease, that is to say, a small amount of tumor cells that can cause a relapse. At a meeting being held today and tomorrow at the CIC, Salamanca scientists are presenting the new international experts and it is expected that within a few months it is available to laboratories around the world.


The method is based on the traditional technique of flow cytometry, that by means of light laser manages to classify cells according to their characteristics, for example, the presence of biomarkers, or substances that indicate whether a cell is pathological. The novelty is that now the CIC has developed a procedure that "has much more sensitivity, new biomarker and biomarker combinations", DiCYT explains researcher Alberto Orfao, primary responsibility for this advance.


In addition, is a very standard method, with the ability to be automated. Why, among those attending the meeting are representatives of the pharmaceutical industry of United States interested in incorporate it into clinical trials as a standardized method of monitoring and others focused on the diagnosis posed to seek the approval of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the U.S. drug agency.


The meeting was attended by about 70 people of the most active international groups in treatment and monitoring of myeloma treatment. Although it is a small number, specialists come, In addition to United States, several European countries, Singapore, Australia, United States, South Africa and Latin America. "They are strong in treatment of myeloma worldwide groups", says Orfao.


This project has been developed by a European research group coordinated from Salamanca which received funding from the International Myeloma Foundation. Although it has a duration of three years and it has only been eight months of work, "we have already practically closed method and we are sharing it", says researcher at CIC.

Scientists have other procedures to monitor treatments, but they are not standardized and do not have the same sensitivity to this. "In the preliminary data that we have, half of the patients who are negative for the test of residual disease with the method that is used today are positive with this more sensitive method", indicates Orfao. This would explain why many people fall while is not detected no trace of disease.


Path of laboratories around the world


The key is in finding new biomarkers that allow to detect tumor cells even when using new treatments that eliminate the classical biomarkers that were used to monitor the disease and that, Therefore, After the therapies already not detected.


Although the concept is already developed, the project still has more than two years ahead to achieve greater goals. First of all, It is necessary that specialized companies produce kits that allow you to use it on a massive scale throughout the world, Although this aspect is already so advanced that "it is expected in a few months be in the market as a product that can use any laboratory.". Cytognos Salamanca company participates in the development of the necessary software to move along this path.


New challenges ahead


On the other hand, researchers have new challenges ahead for further improving diagnosis and treatment monitoring. "Although we increased the maximum sensitivity of this method, We will not be able to detect disease in all cases because it only addressed the bone marrow, and there is another type of patients who do not have localized pathology in this tissue", Expert warns. Why, "we are working so that it can be detected in a sample easy, as the blood.


Researchers are already working in this direction and have registered the copyright of some concepts for four years, Although they had not obtained the necessary funding to develop them so far. In this field, CIC works closely with a group of Rotterdam (Netherlands) the team of Jesús San Miguel, that until a few months ago also worked in Salamanca and now does so from Pamplona.


By Pitcher Jose Andres [en línea] Salamanca (ESP):, 27 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 21 March of 2014] Available on Internet: http://noticias/nuevo-metodo-para-monitorizar-los-tratamientos-del-mieloma-multiple

Create the first 'spleen-on-a-chip' human functional world

24 03 2014

Researchers of the Institute of bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and cresib, ISGlobal Research Center have made a breakthrough in the field of the Microengineering of ' organs-on-a-chip’



Scientists from these two institutes have first made a functional model of spleen in able to act as this body 3D; filter red blood cells. They have succeeded in recreating a microscale the physical properties and the hydrodynamic forces of the functional unit of the Red pulp of the spleen. This device can be used to detect potential drugs against malaria and other hematological diseases. This study has been published in Lab-on-a-Chip.


The original idea of creating a spleen-on-a-chip grew out of groups of Dr. Hernando Portillo to, ICREA Professor of the CRESIB ISGlobal Research Center, who studied for several years the role of the spleen in malaria and Dr. Josep Samitier, Director of the IBEC and Professor at the University of Barcelona, who study the rheological properties of blood, including that parasitized by malaria, to develop diagnostic systems. "Because of the ethical and technological limitations of study the human spleen, known as the "black box" of the abdominal cavity, There has been very little progress in its study", explains the Portillo. To break this barrier started a collaboration to develop a model of human-on-a-chip spleen using a project EXPLORES.

"The spleen fluidic system is very complex and adapted evolutionarily to filter and selectively destroying old red blood cells, micro-organisms and malaria parasitized red blood cells,"explains Dr. Antoni Homs, IBEC researcher and co-author of the study. "The spleen filters the blood by a single method, making it 'microcircular' through filtration beds formed by the Red pulp of the spleen in a special compartment where the hematocrit (the percentage of red blood cells) is increased. So specialized macrophages can recognize and destroy red blood cells sick." In addition, the blood in this single compartment can travel in one direction through interendothelial slots before reaching the circulatory system, what represents a second rigorous test to ensure the removal of old or diseased cells.


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Researchers from these two centres, belonging to the network of centers close, they have mimicked these two conditions of control on its platform size micro to simulate blood microcirculation through two main channels (one slow and one fast) designed to divide the flow. In the 'slow' channel blood flows through an array of pillars simulating the real environment where hematocrit increases and "sick" blood is destroyed. The device has already tested with human red blood cells healthy and infected with malaria, work done mostly by pre-doctoral researchers Luis G. Rigat-Brugarolas (IBEC) and Aleix Elizalde-Torrent (CRESIB/ISGlobal), co-authors of this paper. "Our device will facilitate the study of the function of the spleen in malaria, and it could even provide a flexible platform for the detection of potential drugs against this and other hematological diseases,"says Portillo.

"Bodies-on-a-chip research by integrating Microfluidics system with cell phones is still taking its first steps", but it offers huge perspectives towards the future of trials of drugs for different diseases", Specifies Samitier. These devices in 3D, It imitates layer interrelationships and the microenvironments only seen in living bodies, It allows a new perception of the diseases that cannot be easily obtained with conventional studies with animals, that they are costly and time consuming. In addition, step yields the results related to human animal models cannot predict.


Reference article: Rigat Brugarolas, L. (G)., Elizalde Torrent, A., Bernabeu, M., of Niz, M., Martin Jaular, (L)., Becerra Fernández, C., Homs CorberA. A., Samitier, J. & Portillo, H. A. (2014). Functional model of the human splenon-on-a-chip microengineered. Lab Chip, EPUB ahead of print




Ibecbarcelona.EU [en línea] Barcelona (ESP): ibecbarcelona.EU, 24 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 07 March of 2014] Available on Internet: http://NOTICIAS-DE-INVESTIGACION/researchers-and-clinicians-create-first-functional-human-splenon-on-a-chip.html

Implementation of “Minimarcapasos” without the need for conventional surgery

20 03 2014

The Clinic of Barcelona participates in a clinical trial to test the smallest pacemaker in the world


With a size 24mm, the device Micra manufactured by the medical technology company Medtronic is, today, the smallest pacemaker in the world. A total of 10 centers in the world are involved in a global clinical trial with 60 patients to test an innovative technological system, that it requires no cables, with a procedure of minimally invasive implant (via catheter through the femoral vein). The first device was implanted in a patient in Linz (Austria) as part of the clinical trial. In Spain, the Clinic is one of these 10 centres selected in the world - and the only one in Spain- to test the device 1 (pre-market) study, approved by the AEMPS (Agency Spanish medicines and sanitary product). In Europe, have tried it other five centres in Austria, Hungary, Netherlands and France. The rest will have to wait to start the phase 2, with the participation 300 patients from around the world. They have been introduced in this first phase 26 devices worldwide: 24 in Europe and three in the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.


The team of Dr. Lluís Mont, Head of arrhythmias of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, together with Dr. Josep Brugada, Medical Director, they have implanted the device Micra three patients candidates suffered bradycardia, a condition characterized by a heart rate slow (less than 60 beats per minute) or irregular. The interventions were carried out last February and three patients presented positive developments so far, without any complication in the operation and postoperative. According to Dr. Mont, "thanks to the ease of the implant through the femoral vein and the absence of cables", avoids the possibility of injuries and significantly reduces the risk of infections and dysfunction of the electrodes, a common problem in standard pacemaker". Another advantage of the new device is the management of surgical circuits, "there is the possibility of placing it in the areas of hemodynamics of hospitals, with a permanent service of 24 hours that do not require the programming of conventional surgery operating room services", designates the head of arrhythmias of the Clinic.


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Micra It provides greater stability and reduces the risk of tissue damage

With a tenth of the size of the current pacemaker, Micra It is placed directly into the heart through a catheter inserted through the femoral vein. Once placed, the pacemaker is attached to the wall of the right ventricle and can be repositioned if necessary. Thanks to its small size and the system of fixing through four flexible legs allows greater stability and prevents damage to the heart tissue. This device does not require the use of cables that connect the pacemaker to the heart. Micron sends electrical pulses through an electrode that is placed on the device itself. In contrast to the current procedure of implantation of the pacemaker, Micra It does not require surgical incisions in the chest or the creation of any "Pocket" under the skin. This innovation eliminates the possible complications of the implant and eliminates any visible sign of the device.

Micra It is an example of the significant investment we've made in technology, more specifically, in the miniaturization of cardiac devices", says Pat Mackin, President of CRDM and Vice President of Medtronic. "Smaller devices and new procedures less invasive are evidence of the strong commitment to improve the health of the patient and gain efficiency in procedures". Through the global trial of the Micra, we are trying to generate a strong evidence of the benefits that this technology is for patients and clinicians from around the world". [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 20 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 18 March of 2014] Available on Internet:

Finding malaria's weak spot

17 03 2014

A ground-breaking imaging system to track malarial infection of blood cells in real time has been created by a collaboration catalysed by the University Physics of Medicine Initiative.

After over a decade of research into malaria, biologists Dr Teresa Tiffert and Dr Virgilio Lew at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience found their efforts to observe a key stage of the infection cycle severely hindered by the limits of available technology. An innovative collaboration with physicist Dr Pietro Cicuta at the Cavendish Laboratory and bio-imaging specialist Professor Clemens Kaminski in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology is now yielding new insights into this devastating disease.

Under attack

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. According to the World Malaria Report 2011, there were about 216 million cases of malaria causing an estimated 655,000 deaths in 2010. Tiffert and Lew established their malaria laboratory in Cambridge in 1999 to investigate the most deadly form of the parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Becoming increasingly resistant to available drugs, this species in particular is a growing public health concern.

Their current focus is a mysterious step in the life cycle of P. falciparum occurring inside the infected humans bloodstream. The parasites, at this stage called merozoites, attach to and enter red blood cells (RBCs) to develop and multiply. After two days, the new merozoites are released and infect neighbouring RBCs. Over several days, this process amplifies the number of parasitised RBCs and causes severe and potentially lethal symptoms in humans.

"A huge amount of research has been devoted to understanding the RBC penetration process,"said Tiffert. "The focus of many vaccine efforts is the molecules on the surfaces of both parasite and red cell that are instrumental in recognition and penetration. Our collaboration with Clemens developed new imaging approaches to investigate what happens in the cells after invasion. But the pre-invasion stage, when a merozoite first contacts a cell targeted for invasion, remained a profound mystery. Our research indicates that this stage is absolutely critical in determining the proportion of cells that will be infected in an individual. "

For invasion to occur, the tip of the merozoite has to be aligned perpendicularly to the RBC membrane. Tiffert and Lew are focusing on how this alignment comes about, which has proved a formidable technical challenge. "The merozoites are only in the bloodstream for less than two minutes, where they are vulnerable to attack by the ghosts immune system, before entering a RBC. To investigate what is going on we need to record lots of pre-invasion and penetration sequences at high speed, using high magnification and variable focusing in three dimensions. And the real challenge is to have the microscope on the right settings and to be recording at exactly the time when an infected cell has burst and released merozoites – something that is impossible to predict,"said Tiffert.

Techniques used by previous investigators have produced few useful recordings of this process occurring in culture, but from these an astonishing picture is emerging. "The contact of the merozoite with the RBC elicits vigorous shape changes in the cell, not seen in any other context,"said Lew. "It seems clear that this helps the merozoite orientate itself correctly for penetration, because all movement stops as soon as this happens. The parasite is somehow getting the RBC to help it invade. "

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A collaborative approach

Cicuta, a University Lecturer involved in the University Physics of Medicine Initiative – which is bringing together researchers working at the interface of physical sciences, life sciences and clinical sciences – met the trio by chance three years ago. He realised he could use his background in fundamental physics to pioneer a new approach to understanding malaria. "It's been a gradual move for me to apply what I've learnt in physics to biology,” he said. "From the physics point of view, RBC membranes are a material. This material is very soft and undergoes deformations and fluctuations, and I was interested in understanding the mechanics involved during infection with malaria. "

Drawing on his expertise in the development of experimental techniques, Cicuta collaborated with Tiffert, Lew and Kaminski to pioneer a completely automated imaging system that pushes the boundaries of live cell imaging, enabling individual RBCs and merozoites to be observed throughout the process of infection. The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

"This microscope can not only run by itself for days, it can perform all the tasks that a human would otherwise be doing. It can refocus, it can find infected cells and zoom in, and when it detects a release of parasites it can change its imaging modality by going into a high frame-rate acquisition. And when the release has finished it can search around in the culture to find another cell to monitor automatically,"said Cicuta. "We also want to integrate a technique called an optical trap, which uses a laser beam to grab cells and move them around, so we can deliver the parasites to the cells ourselves and see how they invade. "

"So far, we have been able to gather over 50 videos of infections, which my PhD student Alex Crick has processed to show very clearly that the RBCs undergo large changes in shape when the merozoites touch them. We have also seen very strange shape changes just before the parasites come out of the cells, and we want to see whether this has a bearing on the parasites ' ability to infect subsequent cells. "

During the development of the microscope, the team discovered variability in the way the infected RBCs behave before they burst. "It's important to know that there isn't just one story. The only way to find this out is to look at many cells, which this system allows,"said Lew. "It's a new level of data that allows us to get experimentally significant results, and better understand the diversity of the merozoites,"Cicuta added.

Used in conjunction with other tools such as fluorescent indicators and molecular biological tools, the new technology will allow Tiffert and Lew to test their hypotheses about the pre-invasion stage of the disease. They hope to determine the critical steps, which could provide clues as to how to stop an infection. "This microscope is an extraordinary new tool that has potential for use across a huge field of biological problems involving cellular interactions,"explained Lew.

"It may provide a route to designing effective antimalarial drugs, reducing invasive efficiency and decreasing mortality,"said Tiffert. "The automation we have achieved with this microscope will also be very important for future testing of malaria drugs and vaccines,"added Cicuta.


A visionary initiative

"The Physics of Medicine Initiative has been essential to our work,"said Cicuta. The University formally established the Initiative in December 2008 through the opening of a new purpose-built research facility adjacent to the Cavendish Laboratory, funded by the University and The Wolfson Foundation. The goal is to break down traditional barriers that have tended to limit interactions between researchers in the physical and biomedical sciences.

"I met my collaborators through a Physics of Medicine symposium, and the new building is the only place in the University where this type of research can be done,"added Cicuta. "It's set up for safe handling of hazardous biological organisms like P. falciparum, and also has the facilities to design hardware for our advanced microscopes. This work is exciting because it's interdisciplinary. By applying physics to the knowledge biologists have been developing for many years, we can make very fast progress. "

For more information, please contact Jacqueline Garget at the University of Cambridge Office of External Affairs and Communications [en línea] Cambridge (UK):, 17 March of 2014 [REF. 06 de febrero de 2013] Available on Internet:'s-weak-spot

Diagnosis by magnetic probiotic bacteria

13 03 2014

Scientists of the University of Granada develop first in the world to magnetic bacteria, to be included in the food and swallowed, They help to diagnose digestive diseases, as stomach cancer.

The researchers have incorporated magnetic particles to bacteria (Probiotics) It is found in many foods. The behavior of these "Probiotics magnetic" resembles the of magnetic bacteria that exist in nature but are very difficult to obtain in large number and not have never been used in humans.


Las bacterias magnéticas artificiales son bacterias probióticas rodeadas de miles de nanopartículas magnéticas de óxido de hierro. Estas bacterias son imanes vivos que se alinean siguiendo un campo magnético externo. Esto hace que tengan muchas aplicaciones como fármacos magnéticos en Medicina.

Artificial magnetic bacteria are probiotic bacteria surrounded by thousands of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. These bacteria are living magnets which are ranked according to an external magnetic field. This makes having many applications such as magnetic drugs in medicine.


Scientists of the University of Granada they have succeeded in creating artificial magnetic bacteria, that it could be included in food and help, If swallowed, to diagnose diseases of the digestive system, as stomach cancer. This important scientific finding is the first time globally that a food is used as a natural drug and helps diagnose a disease.

Researchers, belonging to the Group of Bionanoparticulas metal (Bionanomet) Department of inorganic chemistry and the Institute of biotechnology of the UGR, they have developed this work in collaboration with the company BIOSEARCH SA. The results of this research have been published in the latest issue of the magazine Advanced Functional Materials.

To design these artificial magnetic bacteria, the scientists were inspired by some bacteria that exist in nature (magnetobacterias), It produced inside, Naturally, a few small magnets that serve primarily as a guidance system, This is, as an internal compass.


Biomedical applications


These artificial magnetic bacteria could be used in biomedical applications, either to get MRIs to diagnose or to heat malignant cells using magnetic hyperthermia and thus to cure diseases such as cancer.

This new technology, It has been patented by the company BIOSEARCH SA, It is in experimental phase and would allow the use of these probiotic bacteria, commonly used in food, for the diagnosis and treatment of tumors as well as nutritional supplement of iron.

This project has been developed within the framework of a project supported by the Agency for innovation and development of Andalusia (IDEA) of the Junta de Andalucía, and it has culminated in the registration of a patent on this new technology and its applications and in a first publication in one of the magazines with the greatest impact in the area of applied materials.


Bibliographic reference:

Artificial Magnetic Bacteria: Living Magnets at Room TemperatureMiguel Martin, Fernando Carmona, Rafael Cuesta, Deyanira Rondón, Nativity Galvezand Jose M. Dominguez-Vera. Advanced Functional Materials. 2014DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201303754



Jose Manuel Dominguez Vera

Department of inorganic chemistry of the UGR

Phone: 958 248 097

Email: [en línea] Granada (ESP):, 13 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 07 March of 2014] Available on Internet:éticas-que-a conviertena - the-food-on-drugs-natural

Medical app and operating systems used in Spanish-speaking

10 03 2014

According to the website App Annie, applications for medical appointments, services developed by insurance companies in the health sector and guidelines for medicines are health apps more chosen by users.


Instalaciones de la app Vademecum Mobile 2.0 en dispositivos iOS y Android según cada región.

Facilities of the Vademecum Mobile app 2.0 on iOS and Android devices according to each region.


During the Mobile World Congress 2014, held last week in Barcelona, Spain, It has become clear how applications m-Health demonstrated utility in health.

Applications for medical appointments, services developed by insurance companies in the health sector and guidelines for medicines are the most chosen by the users apps.

According to the web site App Annie, where you can consult statistics and rankings about mobile applications, in Spain ten medical apps for popular Android and iOS devices are:


Both in Spain and in Latin America, pharmacological guidelines comprise one of the most demanded by the users resources.

Vademecum Mobile 2.0, for example, It has the largest number of downloads in Mexico, Chile and Colombia, and it reached the top spot in the category of medical applications over the last twelve months in Honduras, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Peru. [en línea] Chicago, IL (USA):, 10 de marzo de 2014 [REF. 05 March of 2014] Available on Internet: http://es/noticia/verNoticia/3230/que-sistema-operativo-movil-prefieren-los-medicos-latinoamericanos-y-espanoles

Study Reveals Mechanisms Cancer Cells Use to Establish Metastatic Brain Tumors

6 03 2014

New research from Memorial Sloan Kettering provides fresh insight into the biologic mechanisms that individual cancer cells use to metastasize to the brain. Published in the February 27 issue of Cell, the study found that tumor cells that reach the brain — and successfully grow into new tumors — hug capillaries and express specific proteins that overcome the brains natural defense against metastatic invasion.

Metastasis, the process that allows some cancer cells to break off from their tumor of origin and take root in a different tissue, is the most common reason people die from cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are ten times more common than primary brain cancers.

Yet most tumor cells die before they can take root in the brain, which is better protected than most organs against colonization by circulating tumor cells. To seed in the brain, a cancer cell must dislodge from its tumor of origin, enter the bloodstream, and cross densely packed blood vessels called the blood-brain barrier. Until now, little research has been done into how metastatic brain tumors develop, but previous mouse experiments that imaged metastatic breast cancer cells over time have shown that of those cancer cells that do make it to the brain, fewer than one in 1,000 survive.

"We didn't know why so many of these cells die,” says Joan Massagué, PhD, Director of the Sloan Kettering Institute and senior author of the study. "What kills them? And how do occasional cells survive in this vulnerable state — sometimes hiding out in the brain for years — to eventually spawn new tumors? What keeps these rare cells alive and where do they hide?”

In the Cell study, Dr. Massagué, with Fellow Manuel Valiente, PhD, and other team members, found that in mouse models of breast and lung cancer — two tumor types that often spread to the brain — many cancer cells that enter the brain are killed by astrocytes. These killer cells, the most common type of brain cell, secrete a protein called Fas ligand.

When cancer cells encounter this protein, they are triggered to self-destruct. The exceptional cancer cells that escape the astrocytes do so by producing a protein called Serpin, which acts as a sort of antidote to the death signals fired at them by nearby astrocytes.

After imaging defiant metastatic cells in the brains of mice, researchers noticed that the cells that were able to survive grew on top of blood capillaries, each cell sticking closely to its vessel "like a panda bear hugging a tree trunk,” Dr. Massagué says. They found that the tumor cells produce a protein that acts like Velcro to attach the cells to the outer wall of a blood vessel.

"This hugging is clearly essential,” Dr. Massagué explains. "If a tumor cell detaches from its vessel, it gets killed by nearby astrocytes. By staying on, it gets nourished and protected, and may eventually start dividing to form a sheath around the vessel. "

Under the microscope, the researchers watched these sheaths of cancer cells around the blood capillaries grow into tiny balls, which eventually became tumors. "Once you've seen it, you can never forget this image,” Dr. Massagué says.

The tumor-cell survival factors uncovered by this study might one day be targeted with drugs to further diminish people risk of metastasis. Dr. Massagué is particularly interested in the ability of tumor cells to hug blood vessels, as he suspects this behavior may be essential for the survival of metastatic cancer cells not only in the brain but also in other parts of the body where metastatic tumor growth can occur.

"Most cancer patients are actually at risk of having their tumor spread to multiple sites,” Dr. Massagué notes. For example, breast cancers can metastasize to the bones, lungs, and liver, as well as to the brain. "What we may be looking at,” he adds, "is a future way to prevent metastasis to many organs simultaneously" using drugs that make tumor cells let go of the blood vessels they cling to.


This work was supported by NIH grants Po1-CA129243 and U54-163167, DOD Innovator award W81XWH-12-0074, and the Alan and Sandra Gerry Metastasis Research Initiative. [en línea] New York (USA):, 6 March of 2014 [REF. 27 de febrero de 2014] Available on Internet:

Dr Martinez Usero: The European vision on innovation in active and healthy ageing.

1 03 2014

Dr. Jose Angel Martinez Usero

Responsible for International Affairs, Funka Nu




From 2012 the European Commission is promoting a pilot project called the European innovation partnership on active and healthy ageing (EIPAHA[1]), in English "European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing".


The global challenge of the pilot is to increase the average of European life expectancy in 2 years before 2020. This would be a triple victory for Europe:

  • Improve the health and quality of life of European citizens, mostly of the elderly,
  • Support the sustainability and efficiency of health and social protection systems,
  • Increase the competitiveness of the European industry in this area getting expansion into new markets.

The priority is the aging


Active and healthy aging is a social challenge in all European countries, but also provides an opportunity, Since Europe can become a global leader capable of providing innovative solutions.

Different action groups in Europe


With one larger European population of 65 years, that will be of 85 millones en 2008 a 151 million in 2060, the context of European environments (buildings, cities, technological environments, etc.) It must adapt to the needs and preferences of older persons. In order to support a better quality of life and better social integration, the cities and regions of Europe will need to bet on the promotion of more active lifestyles, physically and mentally, providing infrastructure that is secure and accessible, promoting dignity and respect.


The cities and regions of Europe can not get these challenges in isolation, that's why building international networks for innovation, the development of projects and the generation of common action guides is crucial in this area.

In order to articulate the different key players Europeans and work in a coordinated and joint, the EIPAHA has been structured into several action groups[2].


Acciond4 Group on "Innovation in environments suitable for the elderly" has the challenge of adapting environments to a European population more and more aged.


The main objective of the Group of Acciond4 is to bring together organizations from across Europe who have a commitment to implement strategies for the creation of suitable environments that support active and healthy aging of population. This action group developed an initial Plan of action[3] in November of 2012, that is has been complemented by new organizations and their respective commitments, until you reach more of 100 organizations already engaged in working together.


How to participate in the EIPAHA and the Acciond4 group.


The initial to participate in EIPAHA step is to register as a member in This portal is the gateway to the activities that are underway in Europe. It's a true collaboration platform that can help your organization develop ideas and innovative projects in the field of active and healthy ageing.


In addition to reading the discussions of the Forum, search for relevant information, as events of interest, articles, good practices, operating procedures, etc., Members of EIPAHA can find partners to carry out initiatives, find initiatives to collaborate with other European organisations, and in general, be aware of what is moving in Europe in this regard.


The European Commission periodically launches invitations so that the organizations concerned to submit their projects or local/regional initiatives that support the actions of a plan of action. in March 2014, the Acciond4 group will open the possibility of new organizations to join with existing commitments in work coordinated in Europe. Para más información, You can contact the unit responsible for managing this group: Unit H2. Digital Social Platforms


Note: Funka Nu has been contracted by the European Commission during 2013 and 2014 to support the management of the Acciond4 group. For more information about this group of action, You can contact with