Volume 4.35 | Sep 8

Neural Cell News 4.35, September 8, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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SickKids Scientists Find New Types of Brain Cancer  ShareThis
Currently medulloblastoma is diagnosed by a pathologist looking at a piece of the tumour under a microscope. By using high-technology tools, the scientists found that the disease is actually four different diseases, each with its own molecular composition and clinical characteristics, including age at onset and gender specificity. [Press release from The Hospital for Sick Children discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology]



DIADEM Contestants Advance Computational Tools to Speed Mapping of Neurons
Computer scientists and experimental neuroscientists are celebrating a new generation of computational tools to trace the complex, branching shapes of neurons up to 10 times faster than the painstaking manual work the task has usually demanded. [Howard Hughes Medical Institute Press Release]

Brain Exercises May Slow Cognitive Decline Initially, But Speed Up Dementia Later
A new study by researchers at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center finds that playing games, going to museums and doing other mentally stimulating activities can delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. However, if dementia does develop, it progresses more rapidly in those who had previously maintained a healthy active lifestyle. [Press release from Rush University Medical Center discussing online prepublication in Neurology]

Brain Mechanism Linked to Relapse after Cocaine Withdrawal

Addictive drugs are known to induce changes in the brain’s reward circuits that may underlie drug craving and relapse after long periods of abstinence. Now, new research uncovers a specific neural mechanism that may be linked to persistent drug-seeking behavior and could help to guide strategies for development of new therapies for cocaine addiction. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Brainy Worms: Evolution of the Cerebral Cortex

Unexpectedly, scientists in Heidelberg, Germany, have now discovered a true counterpart of the cerebral cortex in an invertebrate, a marine worm. [Press release from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory discussing online prepublication in Cell]

Scientists Decode Words from Brain Signals
In an early step toward letting severely paralyzed people speak with their thoughts, University of Utah researchers translated brain signals into words using two grids of 16 microelectrodes implanted beneath the skull but atop the brain. [Press release from the University of Utah discussing online prepublication in The Journal of Neural Engineering]

Brain ‘Rust’ a Cause of Alzheimer’s
Australian scientists have made a significant advance in the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, a condition they describe as an accumulation of brain “rust”. An imbalance in the metals needed for healthy brain function has been found at the root of the degenerative disease. Researchers have traced the imbalance to the brain’s improper and related processing of zinc and iron. [Press release from The Sydney Morning Herald discussing online prepublication in Cell]


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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Profiling by Image Registration Reveals Common Origin of Annelid Mushroom Bodies and Vertebrate Pallium
The evolution of the highest-order human brain center, the pallium or cortex, remains enigmatic. To elucidate its origins, researchers set out to identify related brain parts in phylogenetically distant animals, to then unravel common aspects in cellular composition and molecular architecture. [Cell]

Iron-Export Ferroxidase Activity of Beta-Amyloid Precursor Protein Is Inhibited by Zinc in Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is complicated by pro-oxidant intraneuronal Fe2+ elevation as well as extracellular Zn2+ accumulation within amyloid plaque. Researchers found that the AD beta-amyloid protein precursor possesses ferroxidase activity mediated by a conserved H-ferritin-like active site, which is inhibited specifically by Zn2+. [Cell]

Regulated Segregation of Kinase Dyrk1A during Asymmetric Neural Stem Cell Division Is Critical for EGFR-Mediated Biased Signaling
Here, researchers present evidence that the dual-specificity kinase Dyrk1A is part of a molecular pathway involved in the regulation of biased epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in the progeny of dividing neural stem cells of the adult subependymal zone. [Cell Stem Cell]

Medulloblastoma Comprises Four Distinct Molecular Variants
Researchers studied a large cohort of medulloblastomas to determine how many subgroups of the disease exist, how they differ, and the extent of overlap between subgroups. [J Clin Oncol]

Stress-Induced Priming of Glutamate Synapses Unmasks Associative Short-Term Plasticity
Researchers found that exposing a rat to a single stressor primed glutamate synapses in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and allowed them to undergo a short-term potentiation following a burst of high-frequency afferent activity. [Nat Neurosci]

Pet-1 is Required Across Different Stages of Life to Regulate Serotonergic Function
Researchers used new mouse conditional targeting approaches to investigate the ongoing requirements for Pet-1 (also called Fev), a cascade factor that is required for the initiation of 5-HT synthesis, but whose expression persists into adulthood. [Nat Neurosci]

Elevated BDNF after Cocaine Withdrawal Facilitates LTP in Medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) by Suppressing GABA Inhibition
Here, researchers report that after terminating repeated cocaine exposure in rats, a gradual increase in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the mPFC facilitates activity-induced long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses on layer V pyramidal neurons. This enhanced synaptic plasticity could be attributed to BDNF-induced suppression of GABAergic inhibition in the mPFC by reducing the surface expression of GABAA receptors. [Neuron]

Cognitive Activity and the Cognitive Morbidity of Alzheimer Disease
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that frequent cognitive activity predicts slower cognitive decline before dementia onset in Alzheimer disease and faster decline thereafter. [Neurology]

Phosphorylation of p27Kip1 at Thr187 by Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 Modulates Neural Stem Cell Differentiation
In this study, researchers show that Cdk5 phosphorylation of p27Kip1 at Thr187 is crucial to neural differentiation because (A) neurogenesis is specifically suppressed by transfection of p27Kip1 siRNA into Cdk5+/+ NSCs; (B) reduced neuronal differentiation in Cdk5-/- compared with Cdk5+/+ neural stem cells (NSCs); (C) Cdk5+/+ NSCs, whose differentiation is inhibited by a nonphosphorylatable mutant, p27/Thr187A, are rescued by cotransfection of a phosphorylation-mimicking mutant, p27/Thr187D; (D) transfection of mutant p27Kip1 (p27/187A) into Cdk5+/+ NSCs inhibits differentiation. [Mol Biol Cell]

Decoding Spoken Words Using Local Field Potentials Recorded from the Cortical Surface
Researchers used a grid of closely spaced, nonpenetrating micro-electrodes to record local field potentials (LFPs) from the surface of face motor cortex and Wernicke’s area. [J Neural Eng]


Neuralstem Collaborator to Present Stroke Study Results at Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Conference
Neuralstem, Inc. announced that Dr. Shinn-Zong Lin, Superintendent at China Medical University Hospital, will present results from a study entitled, “Intracerebral Implantation of Adherent Human Neural Stem Cells (or Neurals Progenitor Cells or “NPCs”) to Reverse Motor Deficits in Chronic Stroke Rats,” at the Stem Cells USA & Regenerative Medical Conference in Philadelphia, PA, on September 14, 2010. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

Roche and reMYND’s DDD Enter into a Strategic Alliance to Develop First-in-Class Disease-Modifying Treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease
Roche and reMYND announced that they have entered into an agreement to develop novel therapeutics that could slow down neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients by inhibiting alpha-synuclein and tau toxicity. [reMYND Press Release]

Addex Awarded Michael J. Fox Foundation Grant for ADX48621 to Treat Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia in Parkinson’s
Allosteric modulation company Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. announced that it has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to help fund a Phase II study of ADX48621 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease levodopa-induced dyskinesia (PD-LID). [Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Press Release]

Addex Drug-Candidate Effective in Alzheimer’s Disease Model
Allosteric modulation company Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. announced that it has observed efficacy in a model of Alzheimer’s disease using a recently discovered orally-available drug-candidate. [Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Press Release]

Celldex Therapeutics Regains Worldwide Rights to Rindopepimut (CDX-110)
Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. announced it will regain full worldwide rights to develop and commercialize rindopepimut (CDX-110), effective November 1, 2010. [Celldex Therapeutics Inc. Press Release] 

Paul Greengard Receives Karolinska Institutet’s Bicentennial Gold Medal
Paul Greengard, a Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist at Rockefeller University, will receive the Karolinska Institutet’s Bicentennial Gold Medal, the Swedish medical university announced. [The Rockefeller University Press Release] 

NDSU Visual & Cognitive Neuroscience Center Awarded $10.7 Million from National Institutes of Health
A major federal grant will allow North Dakota State University to enhance its cutting-edge research on how the brain processes visual information, how factors such as attention, individual differences and emotion affect visual perception and cognition, and how memory and attention work. [North Dakota State University Press Release]

Former Head of Discovery Translational Medicine at Wyeth Research and Pfizer Joins Intellect Neurosciences, Inc. as Key Consultant
Intellect Neurosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company with an internal preclinical and clinical-stage pipeline and licenses with major pharmaceutical companies covering products in late-stage clinical trials, announced that it has engaged Dr. Giora Feuerstein as a key consultant to advise the Company regarding its technology programs and pipeline. [Intellect Neurosciences, Inc. Press Release]


FDA Reviewing Heart Risk Data for Parkinson’s Drug Stalevo
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating clinical trial data that suggest Orion Pharma and Novartis’ Parkinson’s drug Stalevo may be associated with a slightly increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) events. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

Obama Administration Appeals Stem Cell Injunction
The Obama administration appealed a ruling that blocked federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and asked the judge who issued the injunction to put it on hold pending the appeal. [Obama Administration, United States]

Medical School Leaders Express Support for Stem Cell Research in New AAMC Ad [Association of American Medical Colleges, United States]

Notice of Meeting: Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society (FR Doc. 2010-21532) [Department of Health and Human Services, United States]

Findings of Research Misconduct (NOT-OD-10-132) [Department of Health and Human Services, United States]

Protein Structure Initiative:Biology-Materials Repository (PSI:Biology-MR) (U01) (RFA-GM-11-008) [National Institute of General Medical Sciences, United States]

Developing and Improving Institutional Animal Resources (G20) (RFA-RR-10-011) [National Center for Research Resources, United States]

Clarification of Eligible Institutions for PA-10-050: Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44]) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Amended Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-21816) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-21815) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Institute of Mental Health; Amended Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-21817) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Human Genome Research Institute; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-21819) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Prospective Grant of Exclusive License: Use of Pentosan Polysulfate To Treat Certain Conditions of the Prostate (FR Doc. 2010-21818)
 [National Institutes of Health, United States]

EVENTS (Listed by Date)

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

NEW Neurodegenerative Diseases: The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Neurodegeneration
February 21-26, 2011
Taos, 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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