When Britons prevent cells from dying


Recent work around cells has yielded very encouraging results. The latest "medical breakthrough of the year" is the development of a cell therapy, called Car-T Cells, that is able to overcome some end-stage blood cancers. British scientists have managed to reverse the process of aging human cells. A French researcher estimates that it will soon be possible to diagnose and treat cancer by measuring the electrical activity of our cells.
Cells saved by molecules
The work of Breton researchers aims to prevent diseased cells from dying. "With researchers from the biological station of Roscoff and Inserm of Rennes, we are working on the SeaBeLife project", explains Morgane Rousselot, doctor in biochemistry. "Our focus is to prevent cell death – what is called programmed necroptosis."
The cells would then be saved by natural or synthetic molecules to allow the diseased cells to have a second life. "We have already worked on families of natural or synthetic molecules that are able to deprogram cell death," says Claire Delehouze, a biotechnology engineer. "As the process of cell death is stopped, the cells will be able to regenerate and grow again."
Treatment of acute hepatic insufficiency as a starting point
To validate this work, researchers are interested in acute liver failure that is characterized by the destruction of liver cells. "The same principle could be applied to neurodegenerative diseases but also to heart diseases," adds Claire Delehouze.
Last December, Naomi Musenga, a 22-year-old woman, died of paracetamol poisoning. Her cells then destroyed themselves, preventing her from being saved. "Paracetamol destroyed his liver cells," explains Claire Delehouze. "She had acute liver failure, which is fatal in 25% of cases, and one of the only solutions would have been an emergency liver transplant."
A startup in 2019
SeaBeLife Biotech is the name of the future startup, located in Roscoff in Brittany, that scientists want to create to develop their research, with the support of the BPO (Banque Populaire de l'Ouest). The latter awarded them € 10,000, as part of its foundation and future projects. The startup is scheduled to open in 2019.
Funds that, along with other funding, should allow to begin the first tests on animals in early 2019. Tests, if successful, that could allow the marketing of a drug.
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