The ‘inventions’ of the CSIC

Biology and Biomedicine Thermo Scientific

DNA amplification method

The DNA polymerase of the phi29 virus, discovered by Margarita Salas, is one of the recent milestones in Spanish science. When small amounts of this acid are available – a hair found in a crime – this advance allows it to be amplified millions of times to analyze, sequence and study it. A discovery with applications in forensic medicine, oncology, in biotechnology laboratories and even in archeology. We are talking about the patent that has reported the most money to the CSIC, 1.2 million euros a year in payments made by the North American company that was licensed for the exploitation of this advance, whose patent has already expired.

Food La Gula del Norte

Fish substitute

The Gipuzkoan firm Angulas Aguinaga had made a name for itself by selling the offspring of this species that spawn off the North American Atlantic coast. In the 80s he began to notice the effects of excess catches, remaining in a few years at 10% of the usual volume. The company understood that it was innovating or disappearing. It then acquired the rights to exploit a CSIC technology that made it possible to prepare an eel substitute from fish protein (surimi). The patent has already expired, although at this point ‘La Gula del Norte’ has already taken over the market. Today, the company has its own laboratories and maintains lines of collaboration with the CSIC.

Biology #Test celiac disease tTG CD1WB

Detection of gluten in food

It is the most accurate method in the world for detecting gluten in food and a child from Reikiavic benefits the same as an adult from Shanghai. It is a technology based on the monoclonal antibody R5, a CSIC biological material that recognizes the peptides involved in celiac disease and through which 5 parts per million can be detected in food (20 parts are enough for the EU) . It is the example of how an advance can be licensed to several companies, in this case the German R-Biopharm and the Spanish Ingenasa, based in Madrid. It depends on the investment that has to be made and the risk that has to be assumed for its development.

MarsiBionics Physical Technologies

Pediatric exoskeleton

With the CE marking for international marketing since last May, it is the world’s first exoskeleton that helps children in neuromuscular rehabilitation. 17 million people will be able to benefit from this advance, recalls its author, Elena García Armada, co-founder of MarsiBionics, the ‘spin-off’ (technology-based company) created for its exploitation. The 12 kg ATLAS 2030, made of aluminum and titanium, is used by pediatric patients with spinal muscular atrophy or cerebral palsy. Researchers have also developed a portable robotic knee for those operated on who need to undergo rehabilitation.

LacTest Chemical Technology

Lactose intolerance test

The test is based on an artificially synthesized sugar that makes it possible to detect the presence in the intestine of by-products derived from the degradation of lactase in the urine. The sugar used has no effect on intolerant people and is more comfortable for the patient than the hydrogen test (it measures the amount of this gas that is exhaled after breathing into a balloon-type container and drinking a flavored liquid that contains lactose). Devised by Professor Alfonso Fernández-Mayoralas, from the Institute of General Organic Chemistry, it is less aggressive than the small intestine biopsy, to which practically all those who showed symptoms were faced before.

Covid Test Elisa / CLIA technology transfer

Antibody test with 98% reliability

The CNB / CSIC researchers, in collaboration with the lmmunostep laboratories in Salamanca, responsible for its manufacture in Elisa kit format, developed a new test capable of identifying, quantifying and differentiating the antibodies produced by the vaccination of those who come from a natural infection of Covid-19. The main advantage of this test is the detection of antibodies against different antigens in a single tube. Thus, by means of a small sample of serum or plasma, very complete information on the immune response against the virus is obtained and handling is simplified.

Agricultural Sciences Albarín blanco

They recover extinct varieties of vines

If we have to put a face to these advances, it is well worth that of Professor Carmen Martínez, from the Biological Mission of Galicia, focused on locating centennial strains that survived the phylloxera plague that devastated Europe in 1870. Her work has allowed the recovery of thirty varieties that were considered extinct and that they better endure in order to avoid phytosanitary treatments. An example, the white albarín in Asturias. But the advances go further. Since 2000, four varieties of almond and nine of apricot trees have been registered (they now total 6,000 planted hectares) and exploitation licenses have been issued in Greece, South Africa or Chile. The objective is to extend the production schedule.

Biomedicine Alofisel

Stem cells for Crohn’s disease

This product has reached two milestones: on the one hand, it uses stem cells not for their regenerative power, but for their immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory capacity; and it is also the first to use those stem cells from a donor to treat a patient and not the donor himself. The drug was called Alofisel and it is based on two patents, one from the CSIC and the other from the Autonomous Madrid. It was developed together with Cellerix, the ‘spin-off’ that made the preclinical in animals. The technology, approved by the European Medicines Agency, is being exploited worldwide by the Japanese multinational Takeda. He won the Galen Prize, the Nobel Prize for the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Leggie Feeding

‘Meat’ made from legumes

Marta Miguel and Marta Garcés, researchers from the CSIC and the Francisco de Vitoria University, are the inventors of this product whose appearance and texture are similar to meat, but healthier as it does not have saturated fat or cholesterol, rich in dietary fiber and more sustainable. It is made from that unglamorous Mediterranean legume that is carob, but is called upon to meet nutritional needs in a scenario where meat consumption is increasingly under suspicion. In a world conditioned by climate change (animals are the largest generators of methane gas), this legume has a low water and carbon footprint.

SimVis physical technologies

Simulator for eye operations

2EyesVision, another example of a ‘spin-off’ arising from a social demand that does not arouse the interest of companies, is the particular desire of researchers Carlos Dorronsoro and Susana Marcos. In this case it is a portable simulator called SimVis, which shows patients who must undergo an operation for presbyopia or cataracts how their vision will improve. With this advance, patients and surgeons have the possibility of verifying the effects of a multifocal intraocular lens. The device, recall its creators, has enormous potential: it is estimated that on the planet there are 1 billion people with tired eyes and another 22 million undergo cataract surgery at the end of the year.

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The ‘inventions’ of the CSIC