IRBLleida mental health project receives support to develop a business plan

To create a spin-off to exploit new avenues in the delivery of therapeutic compounds with personalised and more effective doses to treat anxiety

The project 'Biocompatible Extracellular Vesicles obtained from fermented food industry by-products, compositions and applications thereof' promoted by the +Pec Proteomics research group of the Institute of Biomedical Research of Lleida (IRBLleida) and the University of Lleida (UdL), led by researchers Xavier Gallart and Aida Serra, has received support from the TECSAM Network to develop a business plan.

The project aims to promote the administration of therapeutic compounds in extracellular vesicles, obtained from the recycling of by-products of the food industry, and to market new food supplements that help reduce anxiety. With the creation of a spin-off, the researchers aim to develop the use of these "high quality and natural" food supplements for the preventive treatment of people suffering from anxiety or anxiety-related disorders.

Anxiety is a natural response to various daily life challenges, however, people who experience prolonged periods of stressful episodes tend to develop pathological mental health signs linked to anxiety and anxiety disorders. There are natural compounds, known as nootropics, that could help people prevent the onset of serious anxiety-related mental disorders.

"The most important challenge of natural plant-derived nootropic substances is that they have a low bioavailability. Therefore, our research aims to exploit the use of extracellular vesicles, particles secreted by all types of cells, which use them to communicate with other cells of the organism as a vehicle for the administration of these substances," explained Xavier Gallart. In a previous study, this research group has already demonstrated that these vesicles, baptised BP-EVs, have a high potential to be used as nanovectors for the administration of drugs and compounds with therapeutic potential within the central nervous system.

The +Pec Proteomics research group of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine of Lleida (IRBLleida)