Volume 4.38 | Sep 29

Neural Cell News 4.38, September 29, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY

Scientists Discover Gene that Controls Stem Cells in Central Nervous System   ShareThis
Scientists at the Medical Research Council have discovered that a gene called Sox9 plays a critical role in how stem cells behave and is crucial in the development of the central nervous system. [Press release from the Medical Research Council discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

Culture human glioblastoma-derived tumorspheres 
with NeuroCult®  
Culture human glioblastoma-derived tumorspheres
with NeuroCult®
 
 
*Piccirillo et al., Nature, 2006.
*Gallia et al., Mol Cancer Ther, 2009.
*McGillicuddy et al., Cancer Cell, 2009.
*Zheng et al., Cancer Cell, 2010.
STEMCELL Technologies Inc
 


SCIENCE NEWS

Brain Cell Communication: Why It’s so Fast
Researchers have been studying the complex organic protein complexes that link vesicles and membranes prior to fusion, in order to find an explanation for the rapidity of transmissions. They have discovered that the vesicle contains no fewer than three copies of the linking bridge or “SNARE complex”. [Press release from the University of Copenhagen discussing online prepublication in Science]

Rescue Services at the Cellular Level: How Stem Cells Help the Brain to Regain its Functions After a Stroke
A study has now demonstrated, in a long-term animal study on rats, that the positive effect of stem cell injection after a stroke is mainly based on a stimulative effect in the surrounding cell region. [Press release from the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Cologne discussing online prepublication in PLoS ONE]

Genetic Cause for Migraine Found
The study found that if the gene known as TRESK does not work properly, it can more easily trigger sensitive pain centres in the brain and cause a severe headache. [Press release from the Medical Research Council discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]

Brain Naturally Learns to Recognize Objects
To test “temporal contiguity,” researchers “tricked” monkeys by exposing them to an altered visual world in which the normal rules of temporal contiguity did not apply. They recorded electrical activity from individual neurons in a region of the monkey brain called the inferior temporal cortex, where object recognition is thought to happen. [Press release from MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Queen’s Researchers Locate Impulse Control Centre in the Brain   
Impulsive behaviour can be improved with training and the improvement is marked by specific brain changes, according to a new study. [Press release from Queen’s University discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Breakthrough in Understanding Brain Function Could Lead to Alzheimer’s Treatment
Neuroscientists have discovered a new form of synaptic interaction in the brain involved in memory function which could open up the possibility of a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. [Press release from the University of Bristol discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

Key Action of a Gene Linked to Both Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 Diabetes Identified
A research team has identified the mechanism behind a single gene linked to the causes of both Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Sodium Plays Key Role in Tissue Regeneration: New Drug Treatment Triggers Sodium Ions to Regrow Nerves and Muscle; Could Extend Treatment Window for Acute Injuries
Biologists have discovered that sodium plays a key role in initiating a regenerative response after severe injury. Scientists have found a way to regenerate injured spinal cord and muscle by using small molecule drugs to trigger an influx of sodium ions into injured cells. [Press release from Tufts University discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]


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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Fast Vesicle Fusion in Living Cells Requires at Least Three SNARE Complexes
Fast fusion typically observed in synapses and neurosecretory cells requires at least three functional SNARE complexes, while slower release might occur with fewer. [Science]

Channel-Mediated Tonic GABA Release from Glia
Although phasic GABA release arises from Ca2+-dependent exocytosis from neurons, the mechanism of tonic GABA release is unclear. Here researchers report that tonic inhibition in the cerebellum is due to GABA’s release from glial cells by permeation through the Bestrophin 1 anion channel. [Science]

A Dominant-Negative Mutation in the TRESK Potassium Channel is Linked to Familial Migraine with Aura
Here researchers report a frameshift mutation, F139WfsX24, which segregates perfectly with typical migraine with aura in a large pedigree. [Nat Med]

Unsupervised Natural Visual Experience Rapidly Reshapes Size-Invariant Object Representation in Inferior Temporal Cortex
We easily recognize objects and faces across a myriad of retinal images produced by each object. One hypothesis is that this tolerance (a.k.a. “invariance”) is learned by relying on the fact that object identities are temporally stable. While researchers previously found neuronal evidence supporting this idea at the top of the nonhuman primate ventral visual stream (inferior temporal cortex, researchers here test if this is a general tolerance learning mechanism. [Neuron]

SOX9 Induces and Maintains Neural Stem Cells
Data identifies a functional link between extrinsic and intrinsic mechanisms of neural stem cell specification and maintenance, and establish a central role for SOX9 in the process. [Nat Neurosci]

Muscarinic Receptors Induce LTD of NMDAR EPSCs via a Mechanism Involving Hippocalcin, AP2 and PSD-95
Researchers found that stimulation of muscarinic receptors, either by an agonist or by the synaptic release of acetylcholine, led to long-term depression (LTD) of NMDAR-mediated synaptic transmission. [Nat Neurosci]

Target-Specific Encoding of Response Inhibition: Increased Contribution of AMPA to NMDA Receptors at Excitatory Synapses in the Prefrontal Cortex
Researchers suggest that response inhibition is encoded by a selective strengthening of a subset of corticostriatal projections, uncovering a synaptic mechanism of impulse control. This information could be exploited in therapeutic interventions for disorders of impulse control, such as addiction, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia. [J Neurosci]

Diabetes-Associated SorCS1 Regulates Alzheimer’s Amyloid-Beta Metabolism: Evidence for Involvement of SorL1 and the Retromer Complex
Researchers have undertaken a study of the possible role(s) for SorCS1 in metabolism of the Alzheimer’s amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) and the Abeta precursor protein, to test the hypothesis that Sorcs1 deficiency might be a common genetic risk factor underlying the predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease that is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. [J Neurosci]

Induction of Vertebrate Regeneration by a Transient Sodium Current
Whereas voltage-gated sodium channels play a well known and important role in propagating action potentials in excitable cells, researchers have identified a novel role in regeneration for the ion transport function mediated by the voltage-gated sodium channel, NaV1.2. [J Neurosci]

Stem Cell Mediation of Functional Recovery after Stroke in the Rat
In order to address the underlying mechanisms of stem cell mediated functional improvement, this functional improvement after stroke in the rat was investigated for six months after stroke by use of fMRI, somatosensory evoked potentials by electrophysiology, and sensorimotor behavior testing. [PLoS ONE]
 

INDUSTRY NEWS


Results of Successful Trial for Alzheimer Patients Applying Novel, Non-Invasive Technology to Be Revealed at Geneva Conference
The results of a successful clinical trial using Neuronix Ltd., a developer of a patent-pending, non-invasive system for Alzheimer’s Disease and related conditions, will be presented for the first time at the annual Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in Geneva, Switzerland. [Therapeutics Daily Press Release]

Leading Neuroscientist to Direct Appel Institute for Alzheimer’s Research at Weill Cornell Medical College
Distinguished neuroscientist and Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Steven Marc Paul will lead the new Helen & Robert Appel Institute for Alzheimer’s Research at Weill Cornell Medical College. [Weill Cornell Medical College Press Release]

Doylestown Hospital Joins the Jefferson Neuroscience Network
Doylestown Hospital is joining the Jefferson Neuroscience Network.  Through this collaboration, Jefferson and Doylestown Hospital will provide the most sophisticated care and expertise available to patients with time-sensitive neurovascular diseases. [Thomas Jefferson University Press Release]

CONSCIOUS-2 Study with Clazosentan Does Not Meet Primary Endpoint
Actelion Ltd. announced the initial results of CONSCIOUS-2 a clinical study evaluating the safety and efficacy of clazosentan in reducing vasospasm-related morbidity and all-cause mortality in clipped patients following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. [Actelion Ltd. Press Release]

Novartis Wins Landmark Approval for Oral MS Drug
Novartis has won the blockbuster competition to be first on the U.S. market with an oral MS drug that can slow down the disease and reduce the risk of relapses. The FDA has approved Gilenya, and Novartis plans to have supplies ready for marketing in a matter of weeks. [Fierce Biotech Press Release]

Federal Grant to Boost Student Diversity in Neuroscience
The National Institutes of Health awarded nearly $2.4 million Friday to University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researcher Diego Restrepo and Elba Serrano of New Mexico State University Las Cruces to help them prepare minority students and those with disabilities for careers in neuroscience. [University of Colorado Denver Press Release]

National Science Foundation Grants $400,800 for UTSA Neuroscience Research
Todd Troyer, assistant professor of neuroscience in the UTSA Department of Biology and a member of the UTSA Neurosciences Institute, has received a three-year, $400,898 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Neural Systems Cluster to continue his research on how birds learn to sing. Troyer’s findings will contribute to a better understanding of how the human brain functions during neurological disorders. [The University of Texas at San Antonio Press Release]

NSF Grant to Help Create Center for Neuroscience
Union’s growing neuroscience program will soon have a new home, thanks to a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). [Union College Press Release]

Neuroscience Symposia Highlight Brain Research, Relevance for Patients
Two symposia early next month will highlight new research in the areas of neuroinflammation and deep brain stimulation. Both meetings, which are free to members of the University community, are being organized by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. [University of Rochester Medical Center Press Release]

The Help Group Summit 2010 Convenes More Than 30 Leading Experts In Autism, Learning Disabilities & ADHD
On Oct. 1st and 2nd, 2010, The Help Group will host its annual Summit:  Advances and Best Practices in Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD. [PR Newswire]

Michael J. Fox Foundation Launches Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has launched the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, the first-ever large-scale clinical study exclusively focused on identifying and validating Parkinson’s disease biomarkers. [PR Newswire]



POLICY NEWS


NIH and FDA Announce Awards to Advance Regulatory Science
The National Institutes of Health will award $9.4 million over three years to support four research projects in regulatory science. This research is conducted in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which will contribute approximately $950,000. [National Institutes of Health Press Release]

Children’s Hospital Oakland Receives FDA Clearance to Begin World’s First Cyclodextrin Administration Into the Brains of Twins with Rare and Deadly Cholesterol Disease
Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted clearance of an Investigational New Drug application to introduce Trappsol® Cyclo™ (Hydroxypropyl Beta Cyclodextrin or HPbetaCD) into the brains of six year old identical twin girls dying of a rare brain-destroying cholesterol disease called Niemann Pick Type C. [Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland Press Release]

NINDS Awards New Udall Centers for Parkinson’s Disease Research
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health, has established two new sites as part of the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. The NINDS grants will provide a five-year investment totaling more than $16 million for Emory University in Atlanta and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

NIH Releases Biennial Report of the Director
Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, director of the National Institutes of Health, announced the release of the Biennial Report of the Director, NIH, for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. The report provides an integrated portrait of NIH research activities, making it easy for Congress, advocates and patient groups and the general public to understand the many activities of the agency. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Clinical and Data Coordinating Center(s) for Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Identification Network (PD-BIN) (U01) (RFA-NS-11-005) [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States]

Cancer Diagnostic and Therapeutic Agents Enabled by Nanotechnology (SBIR [U43/U44]) (PAR-10-286) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Office of Biotechnology Activities, Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-23947) [National Institutes of Health, United States]
 
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 010-23867) [National Institutes of Health, United States] 
 
National Center for Research Resources; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-23852) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Amended Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-23847) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-23849) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-23860) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-23952) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-23543) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-23545) [National Institutes of Health, United States]



EVENTS (Listed by Date)


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

International Forum on Stem Cells
November 12-13, 2010
Tianjin, Peoples Republic of China 

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

Keystone Symposia: 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

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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