Volume 4.43 | Nov 3

Neural Cell News 4.43, November 3, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY

How Some Brain Cells Hook Up Surprises Researchers ShareThis
The findings catapult the humble microglia cell from its well-recognized duty of protecting the brain to direct involvement in creating the cellular networks at the core of brain behavior. Its apparent role as an architect of synapses junctions between brain cells comes as a surprise to researchers long accustomed to thinking of microglia as cells focused exclusively on keeping the brain safe from threats. [Press release from the University of Rochester Medical Center discussing online prepublication in PLoS Biology]

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SCIENCE NEWS


Common Psychiatric Drugs Could Slow Dementia
Researchers say commonly used psychiatric drugs could be effective in slowing the progression of certain types of dementia. Scientists from Neuroscience Research Australia have discovered a mutant gene that causes abnormal proteins to build up in the brains of people with frontotemporal dementia. Common psychiatric drugs, such as haloperidol, used to treat schizophrenia, are known to act on this gene. [Press release from Neuroscience Research Australia discussing online prepublication in Annals of Neurology]

Neural Circuit Ensures Zebrafish Will Not Bite Off More Than it Can Chew: Inhibiting Certain Brain Cells Sharpens Animal’s Response to Small, Quick Visual Stimuli
The complexity of the neural network that makes vision tick has long baffled scientists. With a new technology and support from the National Science Foundation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and UC San Francisco have been able to follow entire populations of retinal and brain cells in their test subject, the zebrafish larva, and delve into the secrets of a neural circuit underlying vision. [University of California, Berkeley Press Release]
 
Breakthrough: Scientists Harness the Power of Electricity in the Brain
Researchers have developed technology that for the first time allows doctors and scientists to noninvasively isolate and measure electrical brain activity in moving people. [University of Michigan Press Release]

Gladstone Scientists Identify Process By Which Alzheimer’s Disease Creeps Through the Brain
Scientists have offered new information about the events that underlie the “spread” of Alzheimer’s disease throughout the brain. The research follows disease progression from a vulnerable brain region that is affected early in the disease to interconnected brain regions that are affected in later stages.  [Press release from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Study of Babies’ Brain Scans Sheds New Light on the Brain’s Unconscious Activity and How it Develops
Full-term babies are born with a key collection of networks already formed in their brains, according to new research that challenges some previous theories about the brain’s activity and how the brain develops. [Press release from Imperial College London discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

NIH-Supported Mouse Studies Suggest Treatment Target for Alcohol Problems
A molecular pathway within the brain’s reward circuitry appears to contribute to alcohol abuse. The findings also provide evidence that the pathway may be a promising new target for the treatment of alcohol problems. Because problems in the cellular mechanisms that underlie learning and memory can contribute to alcohol abuse disorders, researchers hypothesized that mTORC1 might be involved in alcohol problems. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)


Kinesin 3 and Cytoplasmic Dynein Mediate Interkinetic Nuclear Migration in Neural Stem Cells
Radial glial progenitor cells exhibit bidirectional cell cycle-dependent nuclear oscillations. The purpose and underlying mechanism of this unusual ‘interkinetic nuclear migration’ are poorly understood. Researchers investigated the basis for this behavior by live imaging of nuclei, centrosomes and microtubules in embryonic rat brain slices, coupled with the use of RNA interference and the myosin inhibitor blebbistatin. [Nat Neurosci]

Transsynaptic Progression of Amyloid-Beta-Induced Neuronal Dysfunction within the Entorhinal-Hippocampal Network
The entorhinal cortex (EC) is one of the earliest affected, most vulnerable brain regions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which is associated with amyloid-beta (A-beta) accumulation in many brain areas. Selective overexpression of mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) predominantly in layer II/III neurons of the EC caused cognitive and behavioral abnormalities characteristic of mouse models with widespread neuronal APP overexpression, including hyperactivity, disinhibition, and spatial learning and memory deficits. [Neuron]

Microglial Interactions with Synapses Are Modulated by Visual Experience
To gain insight into possible roles of microglia in the modification of synaptic structures, researchers used immunocytochemical electron microscopy, serial section electron microscopy with three-dimensional reconstructions, and two-photon in vivo imaging to characterize microglial interactions with synapses during normal and altered sensory experience, in the visual cortex of juvenile mice. [PLoS Biol]

Emergence of Resting State Networks in the Preterm Human Brain
The results place the emergence of resting state networks largely during the period of rapid neural growth in the third trimester of gestation, suggesting that they are formed before the acquisition of cognitive competencies in later childhood. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Role for Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 Signaling in Neuroadaptations Underlying Alcohol-Related Disorders
Here researchers show that administration of alcohol and excessive voluntary consumption of alcohol induce the activation of the mTORC1-mediated signaling pathway in the nucleus accumbens of rodents. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Sigma Nonopioid Intracellular Receptor 1 Mutations Cause Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration-Motor Neuron Disease
Sigma nonopioid intracellular receptor 1 (SIGMAR1 ) gene is a causative gene for familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration-motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND) with a unique neuropathology that differs from other FTLD and MND cases. The findings also suggest Sigma-1 drugs as potential treatments for the trans-activating response element (TAR) DNA binding protein (TDP-43)/fused in sarcoma (FUS) proteinopathies. [Ann Neurol]

Differential Regulation of Proliferation and Differentiation in Neural Precursor Cells by the Jak Pathway
In the present study, the role of the Jak pathway in brain development was investigated in neuronal precursor cells derived from neurosphere cultures using Jak2 and Jak3 small interfering RNAs and specific inhibitors. [Stem Cells]

Preservation of Positional Identity in Fetus-Derived Neural Stem (NS) Cells from Different Mouse Central Nervous System Compartments
Here researchers report that fetal neural stem cells isolated from different regions of the developing mouse nervous system behave in a similar manner with respect to self-renewal and neuropotency, but exhibit distinct positional identities. [Cell Mol Life Sci]

Nanofiber Matrices Promote the Neuronal Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derived-Neural Precursors In Vitro
In the present study, researchers cultured human neural precursors (NPs) derived from the NIH-approved embryonic stem (ES) cell line BGO1 on polycaprolactone fiber matrices of different diameter (i.e. nanofibers and microfibers) and orientation (i.e. aligned and random); fibers were coated with poly-L-ornithine/laminin to mimic the extracellular matrix and support the adhesion, viability and differentiation of NPs. [Tissue Eng Part A]



INDUSTRY NEWS


Neuralstem Awarded Three Federal Grants
Neuralstem, Inc. announced that it has been awarded three Federal grants, totaling $733,438 through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which supports investments in qualifying therapeutic discovery projects. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

Abbott Awarded Brain Research Foundation’s First Frederic A. Gibbs Discovery Award
The Brain Research Foundation presented the Frederic A. Gibbs Discovery Award to Abbott, a global, broad-based health care company, for its dedication to advancing neuroscience through education, research and philanthropy. [PR Newswire]

Paul G. Allen Receives Krieg Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions in Neuroscience
Allen Institute for Brain Sciencefounder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen has been awarded the W. J. S. Krieg Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cajal Club at the Club’s annual Symposium, “The Human Brain: Genes, Development & Connections in the 21st Century,” held in Seattle on Oct. 26 and 27, 2010. [Allen Institute for Brain Science Press Release]

20th Public Data Release by Allen Institute for Brain Science Includes Allen Human Brain Atlas Enhancements and Two New Online Resources
The Allen Institute for Brain Science announced its twentieth public data release, which includes new data and tools for exploring genes at work in the human brain. In addition to expanding and enhancing the Allen Human Brain Atlas, the Allen Institute launched two new human brain resources: the Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project and the NIMH Transcriptional Atlas of Human Brain Development. [Allen Institute for Brain Science Press Release]

New Brain Connectivity Journal Captures Latest Advances in Neuroscience Research
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. announces the release of a new peer-reviewed journal in an expanding area of systems neuroscience, Brain Connectivity. This timely new journal is positioned to become the premier source of cutting-edge basic and clinical neuroscience research aimed at better understanding of structural and functional connections in the brain and how these connections are altered by neurological disorders. [Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Press Release]

Harvard Medical School Accepts $9M Gift
The Bertarelli Foundation-the philanthropic arm of the Swiss biotech company Serono-announced at a press conference its $9 million gift to Harvard Medical School, which will be used to establish a program fostering collaboration in neuroscience between American and Swiss researchers. [The Harvard Crimson Press Release]

With Successful Completion of “Discovering for Life” Fundraising Campaign, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Invests $357 Million to Advance Research
Thanks to its community of dedicated donors, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center ended a five-year fundraising campaign with $357 million to invest in innovative research in specialty areas ranging from cancer to cardiac care, women’s health to pediatrics, pulmonary care to surgery and transplantation, and neuroscience to regenerative medicine. [Cedars-Sinai Press Release]

Antisense Pharma’s Trabedersen in Malignant Brain Tumors: Phase IIb Data Published in Neuro-Oncology
The biopharmaceutical company Antisense Pharma announced that their international, randomized and active-controlled Phase IIb study G004-AP 12009 is published in the official journal of the American Society for Neuro-Oncology. [B3C Newswire]

Novartis Drug Afinitor® Approved by FDA as First Medication for Children and Adults with a Benign Brain Tumor Associated with Tuberous Sclerosis
Novartis announced, that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Afinitor® (everolimus) tablets for patients with subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA), a benign brain tumor associated with tuberous sclerosis (TS), who require therapeutic intervention but are not candidates for curative surgical resection. [Novartis Press Release]

Mind-NRG Secures Series A financing from Index Ventures
Index Ventures announced the incorporation and Series A financing of Mind-NRG (www.mind-nrg.com).  The new Company, based in Switzerland, is devoted to the development of NRG-101, a peptidic neurotrophic factor with disease modifying potential that crosses the blood-brain barrier by a receptor-mediated transport to reach its target.  Index Ventures has allocated up to 10M Euro to Mind-NRG, with 1.5M Euro invested at the start to generate further key data. [Index Ventures Press Release]



POLICY NEWS


NIH Introduces Images, a Database of Images in Biomedical Literature
More than 2.5 million images and figures from medical and life sciences journals are now available through Images, a new resource for finding images in biomedical literature. [National Institutes of Health, United States]
 
Korean Supreme Court Rules Stem Cells as Medicine
The Supreme Court has ruled that stem cells used to treat illnesses should be regarded as medicine that requires approval from the drug administration for use. [Supreme Court, Korea]
 
Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting [Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0001] [Food and Drug Administration, United States]
 
Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting [Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0001]  [Food and Drug Administration, United States]
 
Request for Notification From Industry Organizations Interested in Participating in the Selection Process for Nonvoting Industry Representatives on Public Advisory Committees and Panels and Request for Nonvoting Industry Representatives on Public Advisory Committees and Panels [Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0001] [Food and Drug Administration, United States]
 
Change in Application Receipt Dates for AHRQ Large or Recurring Conference Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PAR-09-257 (NOT-HS-11-001) [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, United States]

Guidelines for Use of Stored Specimens and Access to Ancillary Data and Proposed Cost Schedule: Stored Biologic Specimens and Ancillary Data From the Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP) (FR Doc. 2010-27183) [National Institutes of Health, United States]
 
Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-27049) [National Institutes of Health, United States]
 
Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2010-27743) [National Institutes of Health, United States]
 
Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; Notice of Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-27187) [National Institutes of Health, United States] 

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2010-27625) [Department of Health and Human Services, United States]

Request for Information (RFI): Acquisition, Processing, Storage, and Distribution of Human Brain Tissues to Advance Understanding and Treatment of Addiction; Neurological, Psychiatric, Developmental, and Mental Disorders; Neurological Diseases; Normal Brain Development; and Aging (NOT-MH-10-034) [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States]

HIV Infection of the Central Nervous System (R01) (PA-11-014) [National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States]



EVENTS (Listed by Date)


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

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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