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News U9

News U9

Jesús Santamaría new Corresponding Academician of the Royal Canary Academy of Sciences

Jesús Marcos Santamaría Ramiro, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Zaragoza and Deputy Director of the University Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon has been appointed new Corresponding Academician of the Royal Canary Academy of Sciences.

Reception of the new Corresponding Academician took place last November 7th at the Hall of the Canary Islands Advisory Council in La Laguna the entry speech of the new Corresponding Academician was tittled “Heterogeneous Catalysis 4.0: Opportunities for catalysts when they leave the reactor”

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New inside backcober by researchers of NANBIOSIS U9

Researchers of NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit Ignacio Julian, José L. HuesoReyes Mallada and Jesús Santamaría, are co-authors of an article with inside backcover recently published by the scientific magazine Catalysis, Science and Tecnology.

The synthesis of the materials has been performed at the Platform of Production of Biomaterials and Nanoparticles of the NANBIOSIS ICTS, more specifically at the Nanoparticle Synthesis Unit 9 of the CIBER in BioEngineering, Biomaterials & Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)

Article: Polyoxometalates as alternative Mo precursors for methane dehydroaromatization on Mo/ZSM-5 and Mo/MCM-22 catalysts. Julián I, Hueso J.L, Lara N, Solé-Daurá A, Poblet J,M, Mitchell S.G, MalladaR, Santamaría J.Catal. Sci. Technol., 2019, 9, 5927
DOI: 10.1039/C9CY01490J 

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Killing cancer from starvation or by toxicity with Trojan horses.

Jesús Santamaría, who leads the NFP research group of CIBER-BBN and the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (INA), at the University of Zaragoza, in an interview on October 29 to Aragon TV, talks about the problems in the fight against cancer and explains in a very didactic way, the solutions that are being approached from his research group, in collaboration with other groups. It would consists, basically, in reducing the tumor from inside the tumor cells. Prof. Santamaria has been granted funding twice from the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant program for catalysis-related projects, the last one with two and half million euros to continue their investigation on the use of catalysis in oncology. The synthesis of nanoparticles and the characterization of these experiments is carried out in NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit directed by Jesús Santamaría and Gema Martínez.

The Professor of chemical engineering at the University of Zaragoza, Jesús Santamaría, explains that “killing cancer cells is not too difficult, compared to other cells, but what is difficult is to hit the target of delivering the drug precisely to these cells and not to healty cells.  Because of this, the treatment is often limited by the amount of chemo that the body can tolerate since therapies have very strong side effects”

“Through nanotechnology – Dr. Santamaría continues – we make several approaches: one is the introduction of treatments in intelligent nanoparticles aimed at the tumor, they are injected into the blood and are expected to reach the tumor; and the other is the one proposed by Jesús Santamaría’s team, to fight the tumor from inside the tumor cells by introducing a catalyst that causes certain reactions to occur and in this case, to generate a toxic substance. Thus, if it is done well, the chemotherapeutic would be located inside the tumor and more amount of drug could be applied more efficiently and with much less side effects to the patient as it is not distributed throughout the body; It would mean a chemo factory inside the tumor thanks to the catalyst, -says Santamaría – This has several problems: the first is th arrival of the catalyst to the tumor and not to another site, but, what you we are transporting through the body is not a drug but a catalyst that is biodegradable”

Once the catalyst is in the tumor, it can behave in two different ways depending on the type of catalyst, one removes nutrients from the tumor, for example glucose, killing the tumor from starvation, and the other kills the tumor by toxicity, as Prof. Santamaría explains: “a prodrug is introduced, which is a toxic drug with a group that inactivates it till the catalyst removes the inactivator, so that an inert molecule is transformed into a toxic one inside the tumor, in this way, the toxicity factory is inside the tumor and it will be possible to continue generating toxicity while we give it the prodrug”.

For the catalyst to reach cancer cells, researchers follow two types of approaches. Nanotechnology sometimes uses functionalized nanoparticles with antibodies that recognize parts of specific molecules that are expressed in tumors, this technique has its limitations and it is not working so well as expected. The other way  is the strategy of Trojan horses. What things can we use as Trojan horses? –asks Santamaría- . Two approaches have been tested: one is the dendritic or mesenchymal stem cells which have tropism towards the tumors . These cells are first loaded with therapeutic nanoparticles, then injected into the bloodstream, and use their selective tropism takes to reach the tumor. The other possibility of Trojan horse that researchers have shown in cell cultures is to use, not cells, but something that cells emit called exosomes that are vesicles sent out by cells to communicate with each other, that have a piece of membrane capable to recognize the cell where they come from. Researchers have found a way to collect exosomes from tumor cells and introduce into them, without touching the membrane, a catalyst verifying that exosomes recognize the cells where they come from, look for them and join them.

You can follow the interview by Jesús Santamaría to Aragón Televisión in Spanish in this link http://alacarta.aragontelevision.es/informativos/buenos-dias-aragon-29102019-0800 aprox. min 33-44.

For further information:

Article of reference: Cancer-derived exosomes loaded with ultrathin palladium nanosheets for targeted bioorthogonal catalysis María Sancho-Albero, Belén Rubio-Ruiz, Ana M. Pérez-López, Víctor Sebastián, Pilar Martín-Duque, Manuel Arruebo, Jesús Santamaría and Asier Unciti-Broceta. Nature Catalysis 2019 DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-019-0333-4

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The University of Zaragoza, in the elite of the 500 best universities in the world

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), known as
Shanghai Ranking, which was made public on August 15, once again places the University of Zaragoza among the elite of the 500 best universities in the world.

This indicator organizes up to 20,000 university centers worldwide. Among the keys that have been able to positively influence the results of the research, according to the Vice Chancellor for Prospect, Sustainability and Infrastructure of the University of Zaragoza, Francisco Serón, are the increase in public campus funding for four years as well as the quality of their Scientists.

The University of Zaragoza houses three of NANBIOSIS Units:

U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, led by Jesús Santamaría and Gema Martínez

U13 Tissue & Scaffold Characterization Unit, led by Miguel Ángel Martínez Barca and Fany Peña

U27 High Performance Computing , led by Pablo Laguna

Since 2003, every August, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), known as “Shanghai Ranking,” is published, one of the international reference studies to compare higher education institutions. The ranking selects the 1,000 best educational institutions from a global point of view, among the 20,000 higher education centers that exist.

It is possibly the most famous and most recognized university analysis that values the quality of institutions in the generation of knowledge. The research community respects the results of these rankings because they are based on objective data and their classification is reproducible.

Here you can check the results of the University of Zaragoza in this year’s Shanghai Ranking: http://www.shanghairanking.com/World-University-Rankings/University-of-Zaragoza.html.


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Do you want to join the nanotechnology revolution?

From the NFP research group of CIBER-BBN and INA, led by Jesus Santamaria, that coordinates NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, and through the SAMCA Nanotechnology Chair, the call for grants has been launched: Nanotechnological Bonds

For more information: http://capsulasdenanotecnologia.es/bonos-nanotec/

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“Matrioskas” of nanoparticles, a new therapeutic approach against tuberculosis

Researchers of NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit Manuel Arruebo and Víctor Sebastián have participated in a research published in the journal Nanomedicine

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that poses a serious public health problem and, according to WHO data, 10.4 million people became ill with tuberculosis and 1.7 million died in 2016. Therefore, advance in the development of new tools for diagnosis and treatment is essential and the use of nanoparticles could open a new horizon to deal with the infections caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

In this line, researchers from the CIBER at the University of Zaragoza, and at the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute, have demonstrated the superior effectiveness in-vitro after the use of polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles loaded with rifampin. (one of the drugs used in combination for the treatment of tuberculosis), compared to the effect of the free antibiotic.

Researchers have encapsulated rifampicin in nanoparticles, which in turn have been encapsulated in ‘Matrioskas’ type macroparticles, resistant to the acid pH of the stomach. In this way, the microparticles could be administered orally, a non-invasive way and well accepted by the patient, resist gastric degradation and reach the intestine. There the PLGA nanoparticles loaded with the anti-tuberculosis drug would be released and cross the intestinal wall to reach the systemic circulation and potentially the alveolar macrophages infected by the intracellular pathogen, co-locating the antibiotic-laden nanoparticles with the pathogenic agent. Nowadays rifampicin is administered orally, however it is well known that up to 26% of the dose delivered is degraded in the stomach.

These nanoparticles were able to migrate through an in-vitro epithelial membrane that mimics the intestinal wall and thus be able to fulfill its function of transport and controlled release of the encapsulated drug, which in this way avoids contact with digestive enzymes and with low pH. “This study will lay the foundations for future research based on nanoparticles, aimed at the in vivo evaluation of these nanoparticles with antibiotics in mice infected with tuberculosis,” explains CIBERES researcher José Domínguez.

The researchers of this study initiated their collaboration thanks to the TARMAC project, funded thanks to an initiative of the CIBER-BBN, the CIBERES and the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR). This project focused on the development of new tools for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, particularly tuberculosis.

Article of reference: Vanesa Andreu, Ane Larrea, Pablo Rodriguez-Fernandez, Salvador Alfaro, Begoña Gracia, Ainhoa Lucía, Laura Usón, Andromeda-Celeste Gomez, Gracia Mendoza, Alicia Lacoma, Jose Dominguez, Cristina Prat, Victor Sebastian, José Antonio Ainsa & Manuel Arruebo. Matryoshka-type gastro-resistant microparticles for the oral treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 


From CIBER-BBN news

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NANBIOSIS Scientific Women in the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day to raise awareness of the gender gap in science and technology.

According to the United Nations, while yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science, science and gender equality are vital to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Thus, in recent years, the international community has made a great effort to inspire and promote the participation of women and girls in science.

NANBIOSIS wants to acknowledge  the efforts made by scientific women who struggle every day to contribute their bit to Science and highlight their essential role in nowadays research. Especially we want to recognize the work of scientists women involved in our units, whatever is the nature of their contribution: technical, scientific development, management, coordination, direction, etc; just to mention some examples:
Neus Ferrer in the Scientific Direction of Unit 1 Protein Production Platform (PPP)
Pilar Marco and Nuria Pascual in the Management and Scientific Coordination of U2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) 
Miriam Royo in the Scientific Direction of U3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit
Laura Lechuga and M.Carmen Estevez in the Direction and Scientific Coordination of U4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit
Nora Ventosa and Nathaly Segovia in the Scientific Direction and Technical Coordination of U6 Biomaterial Processing and Nanostructuring Unit
Isabel Oliveira and Teresa Galán in the Coordination of U7 Nanotecnology Unit
Rosa Villa and Gemma Gabriel in the Management and Scientific Coordination of U8 Micro – Nano Technology Unit
Gema Martínez in the Scientific Coordination of U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit
Fany Peña in the Scientific Coordination of U13 Tissue & Scaffold Characterization Unit
Mª Luisa González Martín in the of Direction and Scientific Coordination of U16 Tissue & Scaffold Characterization Unit
Gemma Pascual and Isabel Trabado in the Coordination of the U17 Confocal Microscopy Service
Mª Virtudes Céspedes in the Scientific Coordination of U18 Nanotoxicology Unit
Beatriz Moreno in the Scientific Direction of Unit 19 Clinical tests lab
Ibane Abásolo in the Scientific Coordination of Unit 20 In Vivo Experimental Platformt
Verónica Crisóstomo in the Scientific Direction of Unit 24 Medical Imaging 
Ana Paula Candiota in the Scientific Coordination of Unit 25 Biomedical Applications I 
Maria Luisa García in the Scientific Direction of U28 NanoImaging Unit from Bionand, recently incorporated to NANBIOSIS

Thanks to all of you and your teams!

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Researchers of NANBIOSIS U9 awarded for a work on scaffolds for dental regeneration

Researchers Manuel Arruebo and Víctor Sebastián, from the CIBER-BBN group led by Jesús Santamaría (NFP) at the University of Zaragoza, that coordinates NANBIOSIS Unit 9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles, have received the second prize of the Resomer Awards granted by the company Evonik, a international recognition to competitiviness.

Their work “Promoting bioengineered tooth innervation using nanostructured and hybrid scaffolds”, has been published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia 50 (2017) 493-501. In this work, the researchers of the CIBER-BBN manufactured biodegradable materials such as scaffolds to promote dental regeneration. These scaffolds contained an immunosuppressive drug that, in addition to avoiding rejection after implantation, favored innervation. These implants were evaluated in vitro and in vivo at the French National Institute for Medical Research in Strasbourg, in the group of Nadia Jessel, demonstrating in animal models that these implants favored tooth regeneration and that the regenerated teeth were vascularized and innervated, both necessary characteristics to obtain a good regeneration.

The company Evonik AG is one of the largest chemical companies in the world with more than 36,000 workers and chemical plants in more than 30 countries. Its specialty is fine chemistry and one of its flagship products are biodegradable polymers.

Article of reference

Promoting bioengineered tooth innervation using nanostructured and hybrid scaffolds. Kuchler-Bopp S, Larrea A, Petry L, Idoux-Gillet Y, Sebastian V, Ferrandon A, Schwinté P, Arruebo M, Benkirane-Jessel N. Acta Biomater. 2017 Mar 1;50:493-501. DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.01.001  Epub 2017 Jan 3.

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Advanced methods of continuous production of Nanomaterials

Victor Sebastian, researcher of  NANBIOSIS Unit 9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, explains the production technologies in continuous (Microfluidic systems liquid phase or pyrolysis activated by laser, gas phase in which the nanoparticles are produced)

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Jesús Santamaría, interviewed in the Cadena Ser Radio, denounces the bureaucratic barriers that hinder research.

Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 9, Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, denounces the bureaucratic obstacles of the Law of Contracts, which are paralyzing the investigations whenever it is necessary to buy material or hire personnel.  His research against cancer, which received one of the most powerful European funding of more than two million euros, is stranded because of this rule, which requires to take out any purchase over 15,000 euros. “You can not do research like that,” Santamaría said. “In other countries there are no obstacles and we have to compete with them”

With the entry into force on March 9 of Law 9/2017 of November 8, scientists encounter importan important problems to use not only their basic budgets but also to use funds obtained in open and competitive calls, so they have money available to investigate that can not be spent.

This situation of Spanish research has been reviewed internationally, for example in an article published by the prestigious journal Science: Accounting rules hobble Spanish institutes 

Until now, spending limits were applied per researcher, project and year. (that is, public tenders or having to submit several budgets). Now the limit is computed at the institutional level. This makes it impossible, in practice, to execute budgets, given that once the border of 15,000 euros per institution is exceeded, the direct contract it is not possible but it is needed to undertake the procedures of a contest which can take months.

But all of this does not happen outside Spain, not even in Europe, even though this law is an adaptation of a European Directive. In the rest of the European Union, Science has been prevented from going through this “funnel”. Santamaria calls for a stronger reaction from the scientific community towards the administration.

These obstacles and their results in the R+D were explained in an article published in El Diario.es on April 4, titled “Why does the government make it difficult to carry out scientific research spending?”: “This measure, which may make some sense for laboratories Hospitals that carry out routine analyzes in a standardized manner are meaningless when we talk about independent research groups that work in very diverse areas within the same center, and that lack the administrative personnel necessary to manage this new form of bidding. make impossible, for example, the execution of expenses in other countries, something as common as the payment to a laboratory in North America for the performance of a chemical or genetic analysis: according to this law the foreign laboratory would have to be submitted to the contest. of billing of this type of services are tiny enough so that a laboratory i International, which is extremely busy with the processing of their samples and the calibration and maintenance of their equipment, bother to start the long and complex path of opting for a public tender so that a Spanish researcher can pay for the analysis of their samples. “

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