In Portugal, researchers from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) in Porto discovered a way to use a new biomaterial modified from marine algae that is injectable for the treatment of ischemia, a disease consisting of a lack of blood supply to tissues that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The biomaterial created by the researchers were absorbed by the body when injected and help promote the repair of damaged tissues, at least in chicken embryos so far. Their hope is that this research can help many people in the future who have ischemia or need tissue regeneration.
“Nowadays, cell therapies, in general, are a very interesting promise,” Cristina Barrias, the lead researcher on the project told Publico. “The problem is that although many studies have already been done and in the laboratories and animal models the cells show promise, in clinical the benefits are not very significant. This may be related to the way the cells are administered. Without a biomaterial, the cells die prematurely, for example. By itself, the biomaterial can protect them [by encapsulating them] and we have gone further.”