Volume 4.23 | Jun 16

Neural Cell News 4.23, June 16, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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Tracking Differentiating Neural Progenitors in Pluripotent Cultures Using MicroRNA-Regulated Lentiviral Vectors
In this study, researchers have used a microRNA-regulated lentiviral reporter system to visualize and segregate differentiating neuronal cells in pluripotent cultures. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A]



Obstacles to Stem Cell Therapy Cleared
Researchers have come up with a new technique to prevent tumours developing in connection with stem cell transplantations. [Press release from Lund University discussing online prepublication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

DNA Scan for Familial Autism Finds Variants that Disrupt Gene Activity in Autistic Kids
The world’s largest DNA scan for familial autism has uncovered new genetic changes in autistic children that are often not present in their parents. [Press release from UCLA discussing online prepublication in Nature]
UCLA Scientists Teach Cultured Brain Cells to Keep Time
Exactly how the brain keeps time and learns patterns remains a mystery. In a three-year study, UCLA scientists attempted to unravel the mystery by testing whether networks of brain cells kept alive in culture could be “trained” to keep time. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

Can Mental Activity Protect Against Memory Problems in Multiple Sclerosis?
A new study shows that a mentally active lifestyle may protect against the memory and learning problems that often occur in multiple sclerosis. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Neurology]

Vast Number of Proteins Discovered in Spinal Fluid of Normal People
Researchers have identified 2,630 proteins that reside in fluid that is considered “normal,” a number nearly three times as great as the total number of proteins previously identified. Another striking finding was that more than half (56%) of the proteins were relatively unique to the spinal fluid and not found in blood. [Press release from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey discussing online prepublication in PLoS ONE]

Exercise May Slow Progression of ALS
Researchers are looking at exercise as a new way to slow the degenerative processes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). [University of Alberta Press Release]

Targeted Molecules Play Only Minor Role in Axon Repair
Neuroscientists have found that removing three key inhibitory molecules from myelin does not significantly boost the ability of injured spinal axons to regenerate and restore themselves to full function. [Press release from UC San Diego discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Multitasking is No Problem for These Brain Cells
Neuroscientists have long wondered whether neurons in that part of the brain are specialized for one type of task or if they are “generalists” – that is, able to participate in many functions. A new study comes down in favor of the generalist theory. Researchers showed that when they trained monkeys to perform two different categorization tasks, about half of the neurons involved could switch between the two. [Press release from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Gene Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease Plays Key Role in Cell Survival
A study funded by the National Institute on Aging shows the presenilin 1 (PS1) gene is essential to the function of lysosomes. However, mutations in the PS1 gene disrupt this crucial process. [National Institutes of Health Press Release]

Ginkgo Extract EGb 761 Promotes Formation of New Nerve Cells, Cell Connections in Brain’s Memory Center
Scientists have shown that the Ginkgo extract EGb 761® promotes the formation of new nerve cells and new cell connections in the hippocampus. [The Medical News Press Release]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Activity-Dependent Relocation of the Axon Initial Segment (AIS) Fine-Tunes Neuronal Excitability
Here, researchers show that changes in electrical activity can alter the location of the AIS. [Nature]

Presynaptic Activity Regulates Na+ Channel Distribution at the Axon Initial Segment (AIS)
Researchers report here that deprivation of auditory input in an avian brainstem auditory neuron leads to an increase in AIS length, thus augmenting the excitability of the neuron. [Nature]

Functional Impact of Global Rare Copy Number Variation in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Here, researchers analysed the genome-wide characteristics of rare (<1% frequency) copy number variation in ASD using dense genotyping arrays. [Nature]

Lysosomal Proteolysis and Autophagy Require Presenilin 1 (PS1) and Are Disrupted by Alzheimer-Related PS1 Mutations
Here, researchers show that macroautophagy requires the Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related protein presenilin-1 (PS1). [Cell]

CNS-Resident Glial Progenitor/Stem Cells Produce Schwann Cells as well as Oligodendrocytes during Repair of CNS Demyelination
These data resolve a long-running debate about the origins of the main players in central nervous system (CNS) remyelination and reveal a surprising capacity of CNS precursors to generate Schwann cells, which normally develop from the embryonic neural crest and are restricted to the peripheral nervous system. [Cell Stem Cell]

Assessing Spinal Axon Regeneration and Sprouting in Nogo-, MAG-, and OMgp-Deficient Mice
The data indicate that while Nogo, MAG, and OMgp may modulate axon sprouting, they do not play a central role in central nervous system axon regeneration failure. [Neuron]

Representation of Multiple, Independent Categories in the Primate Prefrontal Cortex (PFC)
Researchers suggest that cognitive demands determine whether PFC neurons function as category multitaskers. [Neuron]

Neural Dynamics of In Vitro Cortical Networks Reflects Experienced Temporal Patterns
Chronic stimulation of cultured rat cortical networks revealed experience-dependent plasticity in neural dynamics. [Nature Neuroscience]

Intellectual Enrichment Lessens the Effect of Brain Atrophy on Learning and Memory in Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
The current research examines whether greater intellectual enrichment lessens the negative effect of brain atrophy on learning and memory in patients with MS. [Neurology]

Establishing the Proteome of Normal Human Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
The results represent the most comprehensive characterization of true normal CSF to date. This normal CSF proteome establishes a comparative standard and basis for investigations into a variety of diseases with neurological and psychiatric features. [PLoS ONE]


Drug Companies Share Data to Speed Brain Research
In an unusual step, a dozen competing drug companies have agreed to share data on thousands of Alzheimer’s patients in hopes that the extra information will spark new ideas for treatments. [The Associated Press]

FoldRx Pharmaceuticals Secures $29 Million Financing
FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (FoldRx) announced it has closed a $29 million financing to advance tafamidis to market. [FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Press Release]

Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. Announces the Issuance of United States Patent
Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. is pleased to announce that it has been granted U.S. Patent 7,704,737 entitled, “Oligodendrocyte Production from Multipotent Neural Stem Cells”. [Stem Cell Therapeutics Corporation Press Release]

UCLA to Open New Staglin IMHRO Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
UCLA will open a new center in July to advance multidisciplinary research probing how the human mind works. [UCLA Press Release]

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Neuroblastoma Expert Reviews Research Progress in Combatting Neuroblastoma
Pediatric oncologist John M. Maris, MD, describes the current state of the science in combating neuroblastoma in his article in the June 10, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine, “Recent Advances in Neuroblastoma.” [The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Press Release]
Johns Hopkins Neurosurgeon Will be One of ‘Nifty Fifty’ to Speak at D.C.-Area Schools
In an effort to ignite a passion for science and engineering in middle and high school students, Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa has been chosen by the USA Science & Engineering Festival as part of a group of 50 scientists who will speak at Washington, D.C.-area schools this fall. [Johns Hopkins Medicine Press Release]


Milestone for Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases: International Cooperation to Establish Uniform Guidelines and Technologies
Representatives of the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the United Kingdom Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) signed a cooperation agreement that aims to establish and apply harmonised guidelines and technologies for research on neurodegenerative diseases. [Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada]

NIH Chief Collins Faces Stem Cell Donation Dilemma
The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, which advises NIH chief Francis Collins on whether lines meet the Obama ethics guidelines, faced the decision on whether 53 more stem cell lines should be added to that total. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Notice of Availability of NINDS Administrative Supplements for Promoting Optogenetics Applications in Basic and Translational Neuroscience Research (NOT-NS-10-021) [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States]

Request for Information (RFI): Sleep Disorders Research Plan [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Enhancing Peer Review: Advance Notice on Post-Submission Application Materials for NIH Training and Related Applications (NOT-OD-10-104) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Notice of Availability of NINDS Administrative Supplements for Promoting Optogenetics Applications in Basic and Translational Neuroscience Research (NOT-NS-10-021) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

PFINDR: Phenotype Finder IN Data Resources: A Tool to Support Cross-Study Data Discovery Among NHLBI Genomic Studies (UH2/UH3) (RFA-HL-11-020) [National Institutes of Health, United States]


BIT’s 1st World Congress of NeuroTalk 2010
June 25-28, 2010
Singapore City, Singapore

7th Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum of European Neuroscience
July 3-7, 2010
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Translational Cancer Medicine 2010 – USA
July 11-14, 2010
San Francisco, United States

United Kingdom National Stem Cell Network (UKNSCN) Annual Scientific Conference
July 12-14, 2010
Nottingham, United Kingdom

Select Biosciences 3rd Annual Stem Cells Europe Conference
August 24-25, 2010
Edinburgh, Scotland

Joint Metastasis Research Society – American Association of Cancer Research Conference on Metastasis and the Tumor Microenvironment
September 12-15, 2010
Philadelphia, United States

Stem Cells USA & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2010
September 13-15, 2010
Philadelphia, United States

4th American Association of Cancer Research International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development
September 27-30, 2010
Denver, United States

6th International Symposium on Neuroprotection and Neurorepair
October 1-4, 2010
Rostock, Germany

2010 World Stem Cell Summit
October 4-6, 2010
Detroit, United States

Translational Cancer Research for Basic Scientists
October 17-22, 2010
Boston, United States

Fraunhofer Life Science Symposium 2010
October 29-30, 2010
Leipzig, Germany

Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2010: Translating Science to Therapy
November 2-3, 2010
Singapore City, Singapore

40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience 2010
November 13-17, 2010
San Diego, United States

Stem Cell Network 10th Annual Scientific Meeting
November 22-24, 2010
Calgary, Canada

Visit our events page to stay up to date with the latest events in the cell, gene and immunotherapy community.


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