"The team aims to bring new answers to the constraints on access to treatments for this health problem," the UC said in a press release sent to the Lusa News Agency on 7 December.

Entitled "REPAIR - Repair and Recovery in Ischemic Stroke: New Cell Therapy Strategies", the project is supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation, under the "Promove" competition, carried out in collaboration with BPI and in partnership with the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

The research work will take place over three years, joining forces between academia and industry for the use of cell therapy and its modelling by exposure to a hypoxic atmosphere, i.e. oxygen levels lower than those normally applied in laboratory conditions, explained Bruno Manadas, a researcher at the UC Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC-UC).

Ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is reduced or interrupted, affecting the brain cells, which stop functioning normally due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients.

This new treatment, developed by the REPAIR team, consists of administering umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells, or their secretome, in the post-acute phase of ischaemic stroke, i.e. the phase following the critical period, when treatment should be implemented.

According to the UC, these approaches have shown great therapeutic potential in several serious diseases.

In the case of ischemic stroke, they may be decisive, stressed Bruno Manadas.

The REPAIR project team also includes CNC-UC researcher and UC Faculty of Science and Technology lecturer Carlos Duarte, UBI lecturer and researcher Graça Baltazar and Crioestaminal Research and Development manager Carla Cardoso.

Ignacio Lizasoain, director of the Neurovascular Research Unit at the Complutense University of Madrid, also collaborated on this work.