Volume 4.40 | Oct 13

Neural Cell News 4.40, October 13, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY

Stem Cells Repair Damaged Spinal Cord Tissue  ShareThis
Researchers have shown how stem cells, together with other cells, repair damaged tissue in the mouse spinal cord. The results are of potential significance to the development of therapies for spinal cord injury. [Press release from Karolinska Institutet discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Researchers Shed Light on How Serotonin Works
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 the Scripps Research Institute discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Nerve-Cell Regeneration Quest is Fast Tracked: Microchip Technology Rapidly Identifies Compounds for Regrowing Nerves, in Live Animals
Engineers at MIT have now used a new microchip technology to rapidly test potential drugs on tiny worms called C. elegans , which are often used in studies of the nervous system. Using the new technology, associate professor Mehmet Fatih Yanik and his colleagues rapidly performed laser surgery, delivered drugs and imaged the resulting neuron regrowth in thousands of live animals. [Press release from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discussing online prepublication the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

Research Discovers Super Vision in Deaf
Researchers have discovered there is a causal link between enhanced visual abilities and reorganization of the part of the brain that usually handles auditory input in congenitally deaf cats. [Press release from The University of Western Ontario discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

Parkinsonian Power Failure: Neuron Degeneration May Be Caused by a Cellular Energy System Breakdown
In the past researchers have observed an association between poor mitochondrial function and Parkinson’s disease. A new meta-analysis suggests that low expression levels of 10 related gene sets responsible for mitochondrial machinery play an important role in this disorder-all previously unlinked to Parkinson’s. [Press release from Scientific American discussing online prepublication in Science Translational Medicine]

Life Cycle of Adult Hippocampal Newborn Neuron Uncovered
Recently, researchers discovered that the life cycle of adult hippocampal newborn neurons was not what was previously thought. Their studies opened new doorways for future research on the process by which neurons are generated. The findings show that very early after birth, within 1-4 days of life, newborn cells reach a critical stage when many of them die by apoptosis, natural cell death. In addition, the study revealed that those dead cells are cleared very rapidly, the two processes being intrinsically coupled. [Press release from the Baylor College of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Origin of New Glial Cells in Intact and Injured Adult Spinal Cord
Several distinct cell types in the adult central nervous system have been suggested to act as stem or progenitor cells generating new cells under physiological or pathological conditions. Researchers have assessed the origin of new cells in the adult mouse spinal cord by genetic fate mapping. [Cell Stem Cell]

Microglia Shape Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis through Apoptosis-Coupled Phagocytosis

Here, researchers show that the majority of the newborn cells undergo death by apoptosis in the first 1 to 4 days of their life, during the transition from amplifying neuroprogenitors to neuroblasts. [Cell Stem Cell]

Cross-Modal Plasticity in Specific Auditory Cortices Underlies Visual Compensations in the Deaf
The results indicate that enhanced visual performance in the deaf is caused by cross-modal reorganization of deaf auditory cortex and it is possible to localize individual visual functions in discrete portions of reorganized auditory cortex. [Nat Neurosci]

Fbw7 Controls Neural Stem Cell Differentiation and Progenitor Apoptosis via Notch and c-Jun
Researchers demonstrate here that Fbw7 (F-box and WD repeat domain containing-7), the substrate recognition component of an SCF (complex of SKP1, CUL1 and F-box protein)-type E3 ubiquitin ligase, is a key regulator of neural stem and progenitor cell viability and differentiation. [Nat Neurosci]

A Crosstalk Between Beta1 and Beta3 Integrins Controls Glycine Receptor and Gephyrin Trafficking at Synapses
Using single quantum dot imaging and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, researchers found in rats that beta1 and beta3 integrins adjust synaptic strength by regulating the synaptic dwell time of both glycine receptors and gephyrin. [Nat Neurosci]

The MAP Kinase Phosphatase MKP-1 Regulates BDNF-Induced Axon Branching
The results identify a signaling mechanism that regulates axonal branching and provide a framework for studying the molecular mechanisms of innervation and axonal remodeling under normal and pathological conditions. [Nat Neurosci]

Large-Scale In Vivo Femtosecond Laser Neurosurgery Screen Reveals Small-Molecule Enhancer of Regeneration
By combining high-throughput microfluidics and femtosecond laser microsurgery, researchers demonstrate for the first time large-scale in vivo screens for identification of compounds that affect neurite regeneration. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Pulse Labeling and Long-Term Tracing of Newborn Neurons in the Adult Subgranular Zone
In this study, researchers designed a tightly controlled, noninvasive system based on Cre/lox P recombination to achieve long-term tracing and genetic manipulation of adult neurons in vivo. [Cell Res]

Wnts Influence the Timing and Efficiency of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cell Generation in the Telencephalon
Previous studies showed that Wnt signaling inhibits the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) into mature oligodendrocytes. Here researchers explored the hypothesis that Wnt signaling limits the generation of OPCs from neural progenitors during forebrain development. [J Neurosci]

Brain Injury Activates Microglia that Induce Neural Stem Cell Proliferation Ex Vivo and Promote Differentiation of Neurosphere-Derived Cells into Neurons and Oligodendrocytes
Here, researchers developed an ex vivo method to investigate how the proliferation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) changes over time after experimental stroke or excitotoxic striatal lesion in the adult rat brain by studying the effects of microglial cells derived from an injured brain on NSPCs. [Neuroscience]

PGC-1alpha , A Potential Therapeutic Target for Early Intervention in Parkinson’s Disease
This systems biology analysis of Parkinson’s disease identifies PGC-1alpha as a potential therapeutic target for early intervention. [Sci Transl Med]



INDUSTRY NEWS

BrainStorm Receives Approval to Begin Clinical Trial of Adult Stem Cell Therapy in Patients with ALS
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc., a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics, announced that the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) has granted clearance for a Phase I/II clinical trial using the company’s autologous NurOwn™ stem cell therapy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). BrainStorm is the first company to receive clearance from the MOH for a differentiated stem cell-based therapy in Israel. [BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. Press Release]

Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., a Subsidiary of BioTime, Inc. and Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd., Enters into an Exclusive License Option Agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to Develop and Market OpRegen™ for the Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
BioTime, Inc., Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd., and Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. jointly announced that Cell Cure and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. have entered into an exclusive license option agreement to develop and commercialize Cell Cure’s OpRegenTM product for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). [BioTime, Inc. Press Release]

Pilot Clinical Trial Meets Primary Endpoint with Allon’s Davunetide
Allon Therapeutics Inc. announced that a pilot clinical trial successfully met its primary endpoint of safety and tolerability, with the Company’s lead neuroprotective drug candidate davunetide, in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and other types of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) like corticobasal syndrome, and progressive non-fluent aphasia. [Allon Therapeutics Inc. Press Release]

Sheng Ding Receives $1.5 Million Transformative Award to Investigate Stimulation of Neuron Regeneration in the Retina
Scripps Research Institute Associate Professor Sheng Ding has won $1.5 million as part of a larger NIH Transformative Award to investigate the regenerative potential of retinal cells – research that could facilitate the development of therapies to restore vision to patients with severe blindness caused by diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. [Scripps Research Institute Press Release]

Enzon Announces Publication of Preclinical Study Data of PEG-SN38 in Pediatric Neuroblastoma
Enzon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the publication of preclinical data demonstrating that PEG-SN38 (EZN-2208), the Company’s novel PEGylated DNA topoisomerase I inhibitor, led to significantly greater tumor regression as compared to CPT-11 (irinotecan) in both in vitro and in vivo models of pediatric neuroblastoma. [Therapeutics Daily]

Nautilus Neurosciences and Mission Pharmacal Announce Exclusive Co-Promotion Agreement for CAMBIA™ (diclofenac potassium for oral solution) for the Acute Treatment of Migraine to the Women’s Health Market
Nautilus Neurosciences, Inc., a neurology-focused specialty pharmaceutical company, and Mission Pharmacal Company, a privately-held pharmaceutical company focused on the women’s health market, announced their exclusive co-promotion agreement for CAMBIA™ (diclofenac potassium for oral solution) to obstetricians, gynecologists and other women’s health medical professionals. [Mission Pharmacal Press Release]

Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Announces Last Patient Out for Studies in ALS and Dyskinesias Associated with the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing high-impact therapeutics that address critical unmet needs, primarily in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, announced that the Company has achieved last patient out in two studies: a Phase 1 clinical study of NP001 in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and a Phase 1/2 clinical study of NP002 in patients with L-dopa-induced dyskinesias (muscle movement disorders). [Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Press Release]

New German-Japanese Collaboration in the Neurosciences
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) are expanding their successful collaboration to encompass a particularly promising area of research. With assistance from the two funding organisations and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), researchers from Germany and Japan will carry out joint projects in the field of computational neuroscience. [EurekAlert!]

UCB and Synosia Therapeutics Sign Strategic Alliance in Neurology  
UCB and Synosia Therapeutics announced a new strategic partnership in neurology. Synosia has granted UCB a license for exclusive, worldwide rights to the development compound SYN-115 and rights to a second compound, SYN-118, for non-orphan indications. Both are in Phase II clinical development for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. [Synosia Therapeutics Press Release]

STEMSOFT Connect – A Simplified Solution to a Complex Problem
STEMSOFT is pleased to announce the release of their new standard interfaces, STEMSOFT Connect™.  STEMSOFT Connect offers standard interface tools that easily connect commonly used applications and devices to STEMSOFT’s applications. [STEMSOFT Software Inc. Press Release]



POLICY NEWS


IQWiG: Law Must Prescribe Obligation to Publish All Clinical Trials
If the currently discussed draft on the “Law on the Reorganization of the Pharmaceutical Market” (AMNOG) is implemented, drug manufacturers will in future have to register their clinical trials at inception and publish results after completion. [Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), Germany]

NIH Announces New Program to Accelerate Research Independence
The National Institutes of Health intends to invest approximately $60 million over the next five years in the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award program to help junior investigators leapfrog over traditional post-doctoral training and move into independent academic positions at U.S. institutions, directly upon completion of their graduate research degrees. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

NIH Launches Genotype-Tissue Expression Project
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced awards to support an initiative to understand how genetic variation may control gene activity and its relationship to disease. Launched as a pilot phase, the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project will create a resource researchers can use to study inherited susceptibility to illness and will establish a tissue bank for future biological studies. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Plan to Develop a Genetic Testing Registry at the National Institutes of Health; Public Meeting; Request for Comments (FR Doc. 2010-25411) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Amended Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-25171) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-25180) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-25185) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

National Center for Research Resources; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-25176) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

FDA’s $25 Million Pitch for Improving Drug Regulation
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pressing for a big funding boost for “regulatory science”-research that can help it evaluate new treatments better and faster. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

FDA to Push for More Investment in Science
Health regulators plan to spend millions of dollars to step up their scientific prowess in a move that officials say will help quickly get new treatments to patients and protect the public against possible health threats. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

FDA Issues Regulatory Science Report
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled a report outlining the agency’s plans to advance regulatory science through its Regulatory Science Initiative. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]



EVENTS (Listed by Date)


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

NEW Ninth Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research
November 7-10, 2010
Philadelphia, United States

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

NEW Keystone Symposia – Stem Cells in Development, Tissue Homeostasis and Disease
January 30-February 4, 2011
Santa Fe, 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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