Volume 4.31 | Aug 11

Neural Cell News 4.31, August 11, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY


In Breakthrough, Nerve Connections Are Regenerated after Spinal Cord Injury  ShareThis
Researchers for the first time have induced robust regeneration of nerve connections that control voluntary movement after spinal cord injury, showing the potential for new therapeutic approaches to paralysis and other motor function impairments. [Press release from UC Irvine discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

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SCIENCE NEWS


New Study Examines the Brain’s Wiring
The brain has been mapped to the smallest fold for at least a century, but still no one knows how all the parts talk to each other. A recent study answers that question for a small area of the rat brain and in so doing takes a big step toward revealing the brain’s wiring. [Press release from the University of Southern California discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

Proteins Linked with Alzheimer’s, Other Neurodegenerative Diseases Found to Clump in Normal Aging
Researchers report that many of the proteins present as minor components of disease aggregates actually clump together as a normal part of aging in healthy individuals. [Press release from the University of California, San Francisco discussing online prepublication in PLoS Biology]

Scientists Working to Develop Vaccine for Parkinson’s Disease
Millions of people with Parkinson’s disease are counting on researchers for a cure. At The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), protein chemists are working to develop a therapeutic vaccine. [The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Press Release]

Brain Responds Same to Acute and Chronic Sleep Loss
Researchers have found that five nights of restricted sleep – four hours a night – affect the brain in a way similar to that seen after acute total sleep deprivation. The new study in rats adds to the growing evidence scientists are accumulating about the negative effects of restricted sleep for both the brain and the body. [Press release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

Busy Brains Make for Deeper Sleep
Sound sleepers share a surprising secret: a bustling brain. A new study reports that people who can sleep through anything show more frequent bursts of brain activity called sleep spindles than do their light-sleeping counterparts. Researchers say the discovery could lead to spindle-enhancing techniques that offer lighter sleepers a chance at dead-to-the-world rest. [Press release from ScienceNow discussing online prepublication in Current Biology]

Study Opens the Door to Developing a New Class of Drugs for Treating Epileptic Seizures
A chemical compound that boosts the action of a molecule normally produced in the brain may provide the starting point for a new line of therapies for the treatment of epileptic seizures, according to a new study. [Press release from The Scripps Research Institute discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

Epileptic Seizures May be Linked to an Ancient Gene Family
New research points to a genetic route to understanding and treating epilepsy. A team of scientists has identified an ancient gene family that plays a role in regulating the excitability of nerves within the brain. [Press release from The Pennsylvania State University discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

FSU Study Takes Novel Approach to Understanding Pituitary Function
A Florida State University biologist and mathematician have joined forces to find out exactly how the brain oversees the secretion of the hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland, research that could lead to new ways to treat hundreds of disorders, including infertility. [Florida State University Press Release]

Plasma Beta-Amyloid Levels Associated With Cognitive Decline
High plasma levels of beta-amyloid appear to be associated with faster cognitive decline even in those who do not develop dementia. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Archives of Neurology]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)


Deletion of the Potassium Channel Kv12.2 Causes Hippocampal Hyperexcitability and Epilepsy
Researchers found the voltage-gated K+ channel Kv12.2 to be a potent regulator of excitability in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. [Nat Neurosci]

PTEN Deletion Enhances the Regenerative Ability of Adult Corticospinal Neurons
Researchers found that PTEN/mTOR are critical for controlling the regenerative capacity of mouse corticospinal neurons. [Nat Neurosci]

Widespread Protein Aggregation as an Inherent Part of Aging in C. elegans
Aberrant protein aggregation is a hallmark of many age-related diseases, yet little is known about whether proteins aggregate with age in a non-disease setting. Using a systematic proteomics approach, researchers identified several hundred proteins that become more insoluble with age in the multicellular organism Caenorhabditis elegans. [PLoS Biol]

Spontaneous Brain Rhythms Predict Sleep Stability in the Face of Noise
Here researchers show that it is possible to predict an individual’s ability to maintain sleep in the face of sound using spontaneous brain rhythms from electroencephalography. [Curr Biol]

Hypothesis-Driven Structural Connectivity Analysis Supports Network over Hierarchical Model of Brain Architecture
The brain is usually described as hierarchically organized, although an alternative network model has been proposed. To help distinguish between these two fundamentally different structure-function hypotheses, researchers developed an experimental circuit-tracing strategy that can be applied to any starting point in the nervous system and then systematically expanded, and applied it to a previously obscure dorsomedial corner of the nucleus accumbens identified functionally as a “hedonic hot spot.” [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Sleep Homeostasis in the Rat is Preserved During Chronic Sleep Restriction
Recent evidence suggests that during chronic sleep restriction (SR) sleep may be regulated by both allostatic and homeostatic mechanisms. Here, researchers performed continuous, almost completely artifact-free EEG recordings from frontal, parietal, and occipital cortex in freely moving rats (n = 11) during and after 5 d of SR. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

GalR2-Positive Allosteric Modulator Exhibits Anticonvulsant Effects in Animal Models
Here researchers report the characterization of a putative GalR2-positive allosteric modulator CYM2503. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Notch Regulates the Switch from Symmetric to Asymmetric Neural Stem Cell Division in the Drosophila Optic Lobe
Neuroepithelial cells are transformed into asymmetrically dividing neuroblasts in a precisely regulated fashion. This cell fate transition is highly reminiscent of the switch from neuroepithelial cells to radial glial cells in the developing mammalian cerebral cortex. To identify the molecules that mediate the transition, researchers microdissected neuroepithelial cells and compared their transcriptional profile with similarly obtained optic lobe neuroblasts. [Development]


Kctd15 Inhibits Neural Crest Formation by Attenuating Wnt/Beta-catenin Signaling Output
Here researchers describe the BTB domain-containing protein Potassium channel tetramerization domain containing 15 (Kctd15) as a factor expressed in the neural plate border that efficiently inhibits neural crest induction in zebrafish and frog embryos. [Development]

Notch1 Is Required for Maintenance of the Reservoir of Adult Hippocampal Stem Cells
Notch1 regulates neural stem cell (NSC) number during development, but its role in adult neurogenesis is unclear. Researchers generated nestin-CreER(T2)/R26R-YFP/Notch1(loxP/loxP) [Notch1inducible knock-out (iKO)] mice to allow tamoxifen-inducible elimination of Notch1 and concomitant expression of yellow fluorescent protein in nestin-expressing Type-1 NSCs and their progeny in the adult hippocampal subgranular zone. [J Neurosci]

Plasma Beta-Amyloid and Cognitive Decline
The objective of this study was to determine if plasma beta-amyloid levels (1) can be linked to specific cognitive changes that constitute conversion to Alzheimer disease and (2) correspond to cognitive change independent of dementia. [Arch Neurol]

Specification of Region-Specific Neurons Including Forebrain Glutamatergic Neurons from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
The results demonstrate that human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC), regardless of how they were derived, can differentiate into a spectrum of rostrocaudal neurons with functionality, which supports the considerable value of hiPSC for study and treatment of patient-specific neural disorders. [PLoS One]




INDUSTRY NEWS


Alectos Therapeutics Announces Collaboration with Merck to Develop Drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease
Alectos Therapeutics Inc. announced a research collaboration with Merck, headquartered in Whitehouse Station, N.J., to identify and develop compounds that modulate O-linked N-acetylglucosaminidase, an enzyme that is believed to be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and potentially other disorders. [Alectos Therapeutics Inc. Press Release]

Elan And Transition Therapeutics Announce Topline Summary Results Of Phase 2 Study and Plans for Phase 3 for ELND005 (Scyllo-inositol)
Elan Corporation, plc and Transition Therapeutics, Inc. announced the results of a Phase 2 placebo-controlled study in 351 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease who received study drug for up to 18 months (Study AD201). [Elan Corporation Press Release]

BrainStorm Engages Poalim IBI as its Financial Advisor
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. announced that its subsidiary, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Ltd., has engaged Poalim IBI, the underwriting arm of Poalim Capital Markets Ltd. and a subsidiary of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest financial group, as its financial advisor to develop financing options in support of the Company’s growth plan along with exploring various options for listing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. [BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. Press Release]

Dr. Timothy Ryan Receives McKnight Technology Award in Neuroscience
Dr. Timothy Ryan has been selected as one of four scientists to receive the prestigious 2010 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award. The award has been given annually since 1999 to advance the range of technologies available for studying the brain and the diseases that affect it. [Weill Cornell Medical College Press Release]

NIH EUREKA Award Will Enable Design of New Brain Tumor Treatment
The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a EUREKA grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design a new way to treat invasive brain tumors by capturing the migrating cells that spread the disease. [The Georgia Institute of Technology Press Release]

Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) Awards Grant to Tocagen Inc.
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), a non-profit foundation dedicated to accelerating therapies for the treatment of brain cancer, announced it has awarded a grant to Tocagen Inc. The grant will help support the clinical development of Tocagen’s novel investigational treatment for patients with recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme. [Tocagen Inc. Press Release]

Turning the Tables on Antibody Validation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is carrying out an ambitious strategy to speed therapies targeting LRRK2, the most common genetic contributor to Parkinson’s disease, onto pharmacy shelves. [The Michael J. Fox Foundation Press Release]

Roberta Diaz Brinton Honored at White House
Roberta Diaz Brinton, director of the USC Science Technology and Research Program, was presented with the prestigious 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House on Aug. 4. [University of Southern California Press Release]

BrainCells Inc. Acquires Clinical-Stage Compound Sabcomeline From Proximagen Group
BrainCells Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement with Proximagen Group to acquire sabcomeline, a clinical-stage muscarinic partial agonist that has potential in the treatment of various psychiatric and neurologic disorders. [BrainCells Inc. Press Release]

Rhode Island Hospital Receives $15 million Gift to Create Neurosciences Institute
Rhode Island Hospital has announced a $15 million gift from the Frederick Henry Prince 1932 Trust to develop and support a neurosciences institute. [Rhode Island Hospital Press Release]




POLICY NEWS


Free Access to U.S. Research Papers Could Yield $1 Billion in Benefits
A new economic analysis finds that making taxpayer-funded scientific papers freely available would yield more than $1 billion in benefits to the U.S. economy over 30 years-five times the costs of archiving the papers. [ScienceInsider]

Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Medical Devices; Neurological and Physical Medicine Device Guidance Document; Reopening of Comment Period; Correction [Docket No. FDA-2009-D-0495] [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

7342.007 Addendum – Imported Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-based Products (HCT/Ps) [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

Notice of Correction to PAR-10-216 Novel NeuroAIDS Therapeutics: Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program (P01) (NOT-MH-10-029) [National Institute of Mental Health, United States]

Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for a Parkinson Disease Biomarkers Identification Network Coordinating Center (U01) (NOT-NS-10-024) [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States]

Advanced Technologies for Detection of Perturbation-Induced Cellular Signatures (U01) (RFA-RM-10-004) NIH Roadmap Initiatives [National Cancer Institute, United States]

Advanced Technologies for Detection of Perturbation-Induced Cellular Signatures (U01) (RFA-RM-10-004) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Technical Assistance Videocast for RFA-RR-10-007: Clinical and Translational Science Coordinating Center (U54) (NOT-RR-10-012) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

NIH Common Fund Transformative Research Projects Program (R01) (RFA-RM-10-010) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-19167) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Human Genome Research Institute; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-19165) [National Institutes of Health, United States]




EVENTS (Listed by Date)


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

Select Biosciences Inaugural Cellular Therapy Summit
August 24-25, 2010
Edinburgh, Scotland

BIOSPINE 3 – 3rd World Congress on Biotechnologies for Spinal Surgery
September 1-4, 2010
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

EMBO/EMBL Structures and Function of Neural Circuits
September 5-8, 2010
Heidelberg, Germany

International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT)-Europe 2nd Regional Meeting
September 11-14, 2010
Belgirate, Italy

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

International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy of Cancer (ISCGT) Congress
September 27-29, 2010
Doha, Qatar

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

18th Annual BioPartnering Europe
October 10-12, 2010
London, United Kingdom

Institute for Genomic Medicine Inaugural Symposium
October 11-12, 2010
San Diego, United States

5th Annual Translational Stem Cell Research Conference
October 12-13, 2010
New York City, 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

The American Society for Cell Biology 50th Annual Meeting
December 11-15, 2010
Philadelphia, United States

Adult Neurogenesis
January 9-14, 2011
Taos, New Mexico

Select Biosciences 5th Annual Stem Cells World Congress
January 24-25, 2011
San Diego, United States

Phacilitate 7th Annual Cell & Gene Therapy Forum 2011
January 24-26, 2011
Washington, DC, United States

Trends in Central Nervous System Malignancies
March 25-26, 2011
Bucharest, Romania

Wiring the Brain: Making Connections
April 12-15, 2011
Powerscourt, Ireland

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


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