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HOSPITAL

27/12/2021

Eva Baldrich has received a CaixaResearch Consolidate 2021 grant

Eva Baldrich

27/12/2021

With this grant the project Synthetic cells to improve the control of viral infections will receive support to accelerate its arrival to society.

Fundació "la Caixa" through its CaixaResearch Consolidate program has awarded four grants to research projects focused on biomedicine that are at a very advanced stage to make them reach society as soon as possible. One of these grants has been awarded to Dr. Eva Baldrich, head of the research group Nanomedicine. Diagnostic Nanotools of Vall d'Hebron Research, for the project "Células sintéticas para mejorar el control de las infecciones víricas" (Synthetic cells to improve the control of viral infections).

The other three projects are: a technology from the University of Santiago de Compostela and CSIC that acts on cancer stem cells to overcome resistance and recurrence; a launcher peptide from Gate2Brain and the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu that crosses the blood-brain barrier to treat childhood brain cancer; and smart glasses from the University of Murcia to correct serious eye defects.

In addition to financial support of up to 300,000 euros per project, researchers receive tailored support in areas such as technology transfer, financing tools, development plans and customized commercialization.

Synthetic cells for improved control of viral infections

Each year, influenza viruses cause respiratory infections in 5-15% of the world's population, resulting in 3-5 million cases of severe illness and 300,000-650,000 deaths.

Hemagglutination - a reaction that causes erythrocytes to agglutinate in the presence of certain viruses - is an essential procedure in the diagnosis, control and characterization of viruses such as influenza, as well as in the determination of immunity after infection or vaccination. Although this procedure is cheap and easy to perform, it also involves the use of animal erythrocytes, which are variable and unstable, which prevents the standardization of the method.

The aim of this project is to develop synthetic cells called syntrocytes (synthetic erythrocytes), which are capable of binding to the influenza virus and can replace animal erythrocytes in hemagglutination assays. The first prototype already outperforms erythrocytes in reproducibility, stability and speed to produce results. With CaixaResearch support, the research team will improve cost-effectiveness and increase the type of viruses detectable, including rubella and SARS-CoV-2.

CaixaResearch Consolidate grants

Support for these projects takes place within the framework of the 2021 CaixaResearch Consolidate call, which drives the transfer of knowledge and technologies in the field of biomedicine and health and provides support to create new research-based companies. The call remains open all year round, as it is understood that it is important that applicant projects receive adequate funding when they need it. In fact, this year, the entity had already promoted three other innovative biomedical projects in this call.

The "la Caixa" Foundation develops this grant program in collaboration with Caixa Capital Risc and with the support of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT-Health).

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