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Rey Jaime I Award of New Technologies to Ramón Martínez Mañez

Ramon Martínez Mañez, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U 26 Biomedical Applications II and Scientific Director of CIBER-BBN, has received the Rey Jaime I Award of New Technologies 2018.

Rey Jaime I Awards are granted (in xis cathegories) to people who stand out in their field of work and who have developed most of their professional activity in Spain. Candidates must be nominated by third parties and must prove their qualities. They are recognized as the most prestigious awards for the activity carried out in Spain. It is one of the best paid prizes in the country. Each of them is endowed with 100 thousand euros and a gold medal. The winners of each category are committed to allocate a part of the prize amount to research and entrepreneurship in Spain.

The jury  of the Jaime I Award for New Technologies (integrated by 18 Nobel prizes) has valued Martínez Mañez “exceptional contributions” in the development of nanosensors with applications in food technology and medicine. Among them, he has indicated the colorimetric labels for the assessment of the freshness of food, the devices for the simple detection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the nanostructures of controlled release of active principles against the fruit fly.

In addition, the jury remarked that the “high scientific quality” of his work has been applied in different technological fields with social impact.

Ramón Martínez-Máñez is a university professor, director of the Interuniversity Research Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM).  He has published a total of 393 articles in different scientific journals and has a very prominent presence in the most significant journals in the field of mustidisciplinary chemistry, such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society or Angewandte Chemie International Edition Nature Communicationsand, having been cited more than 17,000 times (web of Science, 19,874 times in Google Scholar), with an average of more than 42 citations per article, and has an h index of 60 (web of Science, h index of 63 in Google Scholar). Moreover, he has coordinated 99 national and European projects and has achieved “very reliable” sensors for clinical diagnosis, detect changes in the environment and control food quality, with applications in agriculture and nanomedicine.

Currently, his research group is working on the development of nanometric devices with “molecular doors” for the controlled release of drugs. The mesoporous nanoparticles studied are able to retain a charge within their pore system and deliver it when applied a chemical, physical or biochemical stimulus. These particles have been used, for example, for the selective release of cytotoxins for the elimination of cancer cells and bacteria, and also for the release of certain drugs in senescent cells. In addition, the group of Martínez Máñez works in the development of molecular probes for the detection, through changes in color and fluorescence, of elements of environmental and biomedical interest such as drugs, nerve gases, certain types of cells, etc.

Also María Vallet Regí, head of the CIBER-BBN group at the Complutense University of Madrid, has been awarded the Rey Jaime I of Basic Research. Thus, two of the six Awards granted by this institution this year recognize the work of researchers of the CIBER-BBN, partner of NANBIOSIS.

Video by UPVTV
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Nanoparticles carrying the C9h peptide to induce apoptosis in cancer cells

Ramón Martínez Mañez, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 26 NMR: Biomedical Applications II  toguether with other Scientists from CIBER-BBN, the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia-CSIC  and  University and Polytechnic University of Valencia, have developed, on a laboratory scale, a new system to cause the apoptosis in cancer cells.

Is consists on nanocapsules carrying a peptide – a small chain of amino acids – that would be released in a controlled manner to generate the apoptosis of the affected cells. “So far, we have worked with cellular models and the results obtained are promising,” says Ramón Martínez Máñez, director of the Interuniversity Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development of the UPV and scientific director of the CIBER-BBN.

The main novelty of the work developed by the researchers  is the encapsulation of the peptide. According to Martínez Máñez, the current problem of the use of these molecules in clinical therapies is their high rate of degradation and low bioavailability. In fact, a large number of peptide therapeutic products do not obtain approval by regulatory agencies due to these limitations.

“Blood plasma hosts more than 120 proteins, among which are numerous enzymes that degrade molecules. The encapsulation of peptides in mesoporous silica particles could be of general application to be administered in a controlled and effective way in clinical practice. In this case, when the nanoparticle enters the cells, the polylysine that covers the nanoparticles degrades and allows the peptide to be released and then induces the death of the cancer cell, “explains Jerónimo Bravo researcher at the IBV.

The use of the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia-CSIC  would also reduce the toxicity of the therapy, since they are less aggressive than the cytotoxics currently used to induce apoptosis of cancer cells. “In addition, the encapsulation allows to use less medication and would also reduce the side effects in patients,” says Jerónimo Bravo.

After its validation at laboratory scale, the next step would be the evaluation with animal models.

The work of the researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València, the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia-CSIC and the CIBER-BBN has been published in the latest issue of Chemistry-A European Journal.


Article of reference:

Cristina de la Torre, Leticia Domínguez-Berrocal, José R. Murguía, M. Dolores Marcos, Ramón Martínez-Máñez, Jerónimo Bravo, Félix Sancenón. ϵ-Polylysine-Capped Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles as Carrier of the C9h Peptide to Induce Apoptosis in Cancer Cells. Chemistry-A European Journal. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201704161

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