Volume 4.39 | Oct 6

Neural Cell News 4.39, October 6, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY

From Eye to Brain: Salk Researchers Map Functional Connections Between Retinal Neurons at Single-Cell Resolution  ShareThis
By comparing a clearly defined visual input with the electrical output of the retina, researchers were able to trace for the first time the neuronal circuitry that connects individual photoreceptors with retinal ganglion cells. Their measurements not only reveal computations in a neural circuit at the elementary resolution of individual neurons but also shed light on the neural code used by the retina to relay color information to the brain. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Nature]

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SCIENCE NEWS

How Injured Nerves Grow Themselves Back
Unlike nerves of the spinal cord, the peripheral nerves that connect our limbs and organs to the central nervous system have an astonishing ability to regenerate themselves after injury. Now, a new report offers new insight into how that healing process works. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Cell]

Addition of Immunotherapy Boosts Pediatric Cancer Survival: Children with Neuroblastoma see Improved Outcome when Immunotherapy is Added to Standard Therapy
Administering a new form of immunotherapy to children with neuroblastoma, a nervous system cancer, increased the percentage of those who were alive and free of disease progression after two years. The percentage rose from 46 percent for children receiving a standard therapy to 66 percent for children receiving immunotherapy plus standard therapy. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in the New England Journal of Medicine]

How Serotonin Works: Findings Point to New Treatments for Schizophrenia and Depression
Scripps Research Institute scientists have shown for the first time that the neurotransmitter serotonin uses a specialized signaling pathway to mediate biological functions that are distinct from the signaling pathways used by hallucinogenic substances. The new findings could have a profound effect on the development of new therapies for a number of disorders, including schizophrenia and depression. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

GUMC Researchers Find the Blind Use Visual Brain Area to Improve Other Senses
People who have been blind from birth make use of the visual parts of their brain to refine their sensation of sound and touch, according to an international team of researchers. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication Neuron]

Immune System Linked with Accumulation of Toxic Tau Protein
Cells that help to protect the central nervous system may also contribute to pathological changes in the brain. New research provides mechanistic insight into a link between the immune system and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease that are associated with abnormal accumulation of tau protein. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Neuroscience Research May Help Patients Recover from Brain Injury
New neuroscience research may potentially help people who have lost their ability to remember due to brain injury or disease. By examining how we learn and store memories, these scientists have shown that the way the brain first captures and encodes a situation or event is quite different from how it processes subsequent similar events. [Press release from the University of California, Los Angeles discussing online prepublication in PLoS ONE]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Anti-GD2 Antibody with GM-CSF, Interleukin-2, and Isotretinoin for Neuroblastoma
Researchers conducted a study to determine whether adding ch14.18, GM-CSF, and interleukin-2 to standard isotretinoin therapy after intensive multimodal therapy would improve outcomes in high-risk neuroblastoma. [New Engl J Med]

Functional Connectivity in the Retina at the Resolution of Photoreceptors
To understand a neural circuit requires knowledge of its connectivity. Here researchers report measurements of functional connectivity between the input and ouput layers of the macaque retina at single-cell resolution and the implications of these for colour vision. [Nature]

EphB Signaling Directs Peripheral Nerve Regeneration through Sox2-Dependent Schwann Cell Sorting
The peripheral nervous system has astonishing regenerative capabilities in that cut nerves are able to reconnect and re-establish their function. Schwann cells are important players in this process, during which they dedifferentiate to a progenitor/stem cell and promote axonal regrowth. Here, researchers report that fibroblasts also play a key role. [Cell]

Neuroretina Specification in Mouse Embryos Requires Six3-Mediated Suppression of Wnt8b in the Anterior Neural Plate
The findings provide a molecular framework to the program leading to neuroretina differentiation and may be relevant for the development of novel strategies aimed at characterizing and eventually treating different abnormalities in eye formation. [J Clin Invest]

Preserved Functional Specialization for Spatial Processing in the Middle Occipital Gyrus of the Early Blind
Using functional MRI, researchers tested whether processing of auditory versus tactile and spatial versus nonspatial information was dissociated in the occipital cortex of the early blind. [Neuron]

Regulation of Tau Pathology by the Microglial Fractalkine Receptor
Aggregates of the hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) are an invariant neuropathological feature of tauopathies. Here, researchers show that microglial neuroinflammation promotes MAPT phosphorylation and aggregation. [Neuron]

Delayed Transplantation of Human Neural Precursor Cells Improves Outcome from Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Aged Rats
In this study researchers compared the effect of neural precursor cell (NPC) and Matrigel transplants in young adult (3-mo-old) and aged (24-mo-old) Fisher 344 rats from the National Institute on Aging’s aged rodent colony. [Aging Cell]

Serotonin, But Not N-Methyltryptamines, Activates the Serotonin 2A Receptor Via a Beta-Arrestin2/Src/Akt Signaling Complex In Vivo
Here researchers report that serotonin differs from the psychoactive N-methyltryptamines by its ability to engage a beta-arrestin2-mediated signaling cascade in the frontal cortex. [J Neurosci]

Neural Stem Cells Secrete Factors that Promote Auditory Cell Proliferation via a Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Signaling Pathway
The results demonstrated that both cell viability and cell proliferation were significantly enhanced upon treatment with neural stem cell (NSC) conditioned medium, which contains significantly elevated levels of leukemia inhibitory factor secreted by NSCs. [J Neurosci Res]

A Role for Calcium-Permeable AMPA Receptors (AMPARs) in Synaptic Plasticity and Learning
The results suggest that GluR2-lacking AMPARs play a functional and previously unidentified role in learning; they appear to mediate changes in synaptic strength that occur after plasticity has been established by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). [PLoS ONE]



INDUSTRY NEWS

Promising Glioblastoma Data Spur Celldex Shares
Shares of Celldex Therapeutics shot up after a team of top researchers achieved prominent attention for some impressive mid-stage clinical trial results for a new therapeutic vaccine designed to fight brain cancer. [FierceBiotech]

New Details Presented at the World Parkinson Congress on Neurologix’s Successful Phase 2 Trial of Gene Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Neurologix, Inc. announced that new details of the company’s landmark, randomized, double-blind Phase 2 clinical trial of NLX-P101, its investigational gene therapy for advanced Parkinson’s disease, were presented during a symposium at the 2nd World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow, Scotland. [Neurologix, Inc. Press Release]

Rett Syndrome Research Trust Marks Two-Year Anniversary with Launch of Gene Therapy Projects
The Rett Syndrome Research Trust (RSRT) is pleased to initiate two new gene therapy projects in the fight against Rett Syndrome. Both projects are aimed toward the goal of normalizing levels of MECP2, the protein mutated in Rett Syndrome. [The Rett Syndrome Research Trust Press Release]

Synosia Presents Data from Clinical Trial of SYN-118 As A New Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
Synosia Therapeutics announced the first clinical study results showing that SYN-118 provides clinically meaningful benefits to Parkinson’s patients, has a good safety profile and is well tolerated. [Synosia Therapeutics Press Release]

AANS/CNS Section on Tumors Announces $100,000 Clinical Brain Tumor Research Grant Funded by the American Brain Tumor Association
The Section on Tumors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) has announced a $100,000 two-year ($50,000/year) clinical research grant funded by the American Brain Tumor Association. [The American Brain Tumor Association Press Release]

McGill Partners with Leading Swiss Neuroscience Research Group
McGill University joined with two leading Swiss research institutions – the University of Zurich (UZH) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) – to enhance neuroscience research in a host of areas, in fields that include pain therapy, Alzheimer’s disease, synapse modelling and repair, neuroimmunology and genetic mechanisms of brain diseases. [EurekAlert!]

Elsevier Launches New Journal: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. [Elsevier Press Release]

Elsevier’s BrainNavigator 3.0 Reflects the Next Step in Enhancing Neurological Research
Elsevier announced a new version of its online research tool, BrainNavigator. The first version, introduced in 2008, was well received by the neuroscience researcher community and received the prestigious PROSE Award in 2009. In the updated version, BrainNavigator 3.0, Elsevier has added critical new content and functionality to give researchers additional tools to accelerate their research. [Elsevier Press Release]
 

POLICY NEWS


FDA Approves First Oral Drug to Reduce MS Relapses
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Gilenya capsules (fingolimod) to reduce relapses and delay disability progression in patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

NIH Transformative Research Project Awards Hasten Innovation
The National Institutes of Health will award up to $64 million over five years to encourage exploration of exceptionally innovative and original research ideas that have the potential for extraordinary impact. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

NCBI Launches the Database of Genomic Structural Variations
The National Institutes of Health announces the launch of a new resource, called the Database of Genomic Structural Variation, or dbVar, to help scientists understand how differences in DNA contribute to human health and disease. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

NIH Grants Will Advance Studies of the Form and Function of Proteins
The National Institutes of Health has awarded 23 grants for structural biology research totaling up to $290 million over five years. The projects will focus on determining the shapes and functions of proteins important in biology and medicine. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Tumor Microenvironment Network (TMEN) (U54) (RFA-CA-10-021) [Department of Health and Human Services, United States]

Resource Related Research Projects for Development of Animal Models and Related Materials (R24) (PAR-10-289) [National Center for Research Resources, United States]

Animal and Biological Material Resource Centers (P40) (PAR-11-001) [National Center for Research Resources, United States]

NHLBI Translational Research Implementation Program (TRIP) – Limited Competition – (P50) (RFA-HL-12-003) [National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, United States]

Notice of Pre-Application Meeting and Correction for Request for Applications (RFA-RM-10-011, RFA-RM-10-012, and RFA-RM-10-013) for the Knockout Mouse Phenotyping (U54), Project Database (U54), and Production and Cryopreservation (U42) (NOT-RM-10-015) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-24548) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-24680) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-24549) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-24550) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-24556) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Human Genome Research Institute; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-24555) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-24408) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Cancer Institute; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-24413) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-24414) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-24405) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Training in Computational Neuroscience: From Biology to Model and Back Again (T90/R90) (RFA-DA-11-005) [National Institutes of Health, United States]



EVENTS (Listed by Date)


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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