Researchers of the University of Jaen, Almeria and Granada, who belong to the group "Nuevas Tecnologías aplicadas a la Investigación" (CTS-107, new technologies applied to research) led by Dr. Antonia Aránega, in collaboration with the University of Malaga, are working on the recovery of cartilaginous microlesions in elite sportspeople using adult and embryonic stem cells.

This one-year long project, called 'Optimización de las condiciones y medios de cultivo de células madre con finalidad bio-reparadora de microlesiones osteocondrales en deportistas de alto nivel' (optimisation of the conditions and culture environment of stem cells for the recovery of osteochondral lesions in elite sportspeople) is part of a project of the Consejo Superior de Deportes of the Spanish Education and Sports Ministry, and is funded with 15,650 euros.

The research, headed by the lecturer of the University of Jaen, Juan Antonio Marchal Corrales, consists of optimising the isolation on the one hand of mesenquimal stem cells of peripheric blood in elite sportspeople, and on the other hand of adult stem cells of subjects with cartilaginous lesions.

According to Marchal, 'this project suggests, firstly, that osteochondral lesions in elite sportspeople are very difficult to overcome at 100%, and generally they get complicated in time with degenerative processes. Therefore, if these sportspeople do no recover from such lesions 100%, their performance will decrease. Secondly, due to the therapeutic potential of stem cells".

The methodology of this research work, pioneer in Spain, consists of taking a blood sample to isolate the stem cells of sportspeople and people who suffer from any type of cartilaginous lesion in order to make these cells proliferate in a culture and try to differentiate them from chondrocites, the specialized cells of cartilages.

The research team will shortly work with embryonic stem cells, as some of its members have worked in the Institute Karolinska of Stockholm, and have learnt to culture these human embryonic stem cells. They have more potentiality, that is, more capacity to proliferate and differentiate from any type of tissue.


Andalusia's I+D+I public system includes over 18,000 researchers and more than 1,700 research groups. Together with Madrid and Cataluña, Andalusia has a great potential, with 14% of the nation's total scientific output. This privileged position has been possible thanks both to the regional government's financial support to the I+D+I and the aid of the private sector. Last January 9, the Andalusian Programme for the Spreading of Scientific Knowledge created the news agency InnovaPress in Spanish, with the aim of providing prompt information about scientific developments in the region. The project follows the European Commission's guidelines for the creation of a major scientific news agency that will enhance the spread of such information, and will serve as a new tool for the EU's economic reforms set out in Lisbon, as debated in Brussels last December 2004. Now, from April 3rd, InnovaPress will also be available in English, in an attempt to spread scientific developments and results to mass media, researchers, and universities. The Andalusian Programme for the Spreading of Scientific Knowledge is sponsored by the Andalusian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Enterprise. This is a pioneering project in Europe, which has managed to gather research, higher education and knowledge-based industry, I.T.s, and entreprenurial, industrial and energy policies. With the interaction of all these agents in mind, the Andalusian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Enterprise intends to create a major social alliance that will enable an "innovation explosion" in Andalusia as exclusive guarantee of progress and welfare development. In this vein, the Andalusian Regional Government has increased its investment in I+D+I by 37% with regard to the previous year, when investment was also increased by 32%. This shows the government's commitment to double investment in this area in the course of the present term of office. Some of the actions carried out by the regional government include a brand new Multi-annual Plan for University Infrastructure Investment for the period 2006-2010, with a total budget of 480 million Euros for the ten Andalusian public universities. With this new Plan, investment in university infrastructure and equipmentmte agents in mind,ry policiesm groups. is increased by 32% with regard to the previous five-year period. Also, within five years, the Plan will match all investment made in the last 12 years (1994-2005), which amounted to 504 million Euros. Also, a new system of incentives has been established for Research Groups and Excellence Projects, reaching a total of 87 million Euros, which means an increase of 79 million with regard to the previous official announcement made by the regional government before the new system was in force. In the new system, 12 million Euros have been allocated as incentives to the work of 1731 research groups, and 30 million more have made it possible to start 219 excellence projects dealing with Life Sciences, Food and Agriculture, Information Technologies, etc. Through InnovaPress, the Andalusian Programme for the Spreading of Scientific Knowledge will channel this new sustainable economic and social model, based on the creation of social welfare, respect for the environment and equal opportunities, within the major framework of the second modernisation of Andalusia.

Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa
c/ Albert Einstein s/n


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