Volume 4.47 | Dec 1

Neural Cell News 4.47, December 1, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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Researchers Identify a Molecular Switch that Controls Neuronal Migration in the Developing Brain  ShareThis
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital investigators have identified key components of a signaling pathway that controls the departure of neurons from the brain niche where they form and allows these cells to start migrating to their final destination. [Press release from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital discussing online prepublication in Science]

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Neurological Protein May Hold the Key to New Treatments for Depression
Neuroscientists have developed a protein peptide that may be a novel type of highly targeted treatment for depression with a low side-effect profile. [Press release from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]

Brain Scans Show Effects of Parkinson’s Drug
Neuroscientists using a new brain imaging technique could see an investigational drug for Parkinson’s disease get into a patient’s brain and affect blood flow in several key structures, an indicator the drug may be effective. [Press release from Washington University in St. Louis discussing online prepublication in The Journal of Neuroscience]

Gene Therapy Prevents Memory Problems in Mice with Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists have discovered a new strategy to prevent memory deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Humans with AD and mice genetically engineered to simulate the disease have abnormally low levels of an enzyme called EphB2 in memory centers of the brain. Improving EphB2 levels in such mice by gene therapy completely fixed their memory problems. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Novel Method Results in Promising Drugs for Huntington’s Disease (HD) Therapeutics
Buck Institute, Yale University and University of California, Berkeley scientists identify three caspase inhibitors that block HD-associated neuronal damage in cell culture; follow up experiments are underway in mice. [Press release from The Buck Institute for Age Research discussing online prepublication in Chemistry and Biology]

Study Reveals Neural Basis of Rapid Brain Adaptation
A new study details the biological basis of this ability for rapid adaptation: neurons located at the beginning of the brain’s sensory information pathway that change their level of simultaneous firing. [Press release from Georgia Institute of Technology discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

Harvard Scientists Reverse Aging in Mice
The mice had a telomerase gene that could be toggled on and off. When the gene was turned off, the mice aged rapidly. But when the team turned the gene back on, the aging process of the mice reversed. The mice’s worn-out organs were physically regenerated. The result was that shrunken brains increased in size, the neural stem cell reserves were replenished, and coat hair was restored to a healthy sheen. [Press release from The Harvard Crimson discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Researchers Say Stability Is Step Toward Treating ALS
A team of Brandeis scientists reports an innovative approach to treating the most common form of familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In the study, researchers studied mutations in the gene that makes a particular protein, known as SOD1, responsible for causing much of the familial form of ALS. [Press release from Brandeis University discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Reversing EphB2 Depletion Rescues Cognitive Functions in Alzheimer Model
To determine the pathogenic importance of EphB2 depletions in Alzheimer’s disease and related models, researchers used lentiviral constructs to reduce or increase neuronal expression of EphB2 in memory centers of the mouse brain. [Nature]

Tumour Vascularization via Endothelial Differentiation of Glioblastoma Stem-Like Cells
Here researchers show that a variable number (range 20-90%, mean 60.7%) of endothelial cells in glioblastoma carry the same genomic alteration as tumour cells, indicating that a significant portion of the vascular endothelium has a neoplastic origin. [Nature]

Telomerase Reactivation Reverses Tissue Degeneration in Aged Telomerase-Deficient Mice
Notably, somatic telomerase reactivation reversed neurodegeneration with restoration of proliferating Sox2(+) neural progenitors, Dcx(+) newborn neurons, and Olig2(+) oligodendrocyte populations. [Nature]

Siah Regulation of Pard3A Controls Neuronal Cell Adhesion During Germinal Zone Exit
Researchers found that cerebellar granule neuron germinal zone exit is regulated by proteasomal degradation of Pard3A by the Seven in Absentia homolog (Siah) E3 ubiquitin ligase. [ Science]

Uncoupling the Dopamine D1-D2 Receptor Complex Exerts Antidepressant-Like Effects
Researchers report that coupling between dopamine D1 and D2 receptors was markedly increased in postmortem brain of subjects suffering from major depression. [Nat Med]

Thalamic Synchrony and the Adaptive Gating of Information Flow to Cortex
The results here suggest a shift in coding strategy with adaptation that directly controls information relayed to cortex, which could have implications for encoding velocity signatures of textures. [Nat Neurosci]

Strategies for Stabilizing Superoxide Dismutase (SOD1), the Protein Destabilized in the Most Common Form of Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
The results demonstrate that targeting the cysteine residues is an important new strategy for development of ALS therapies. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Quantification of Indirect Pathway Inhibition by the Adenosine A(2a) Antagonist SYN115 in Parkinson Disease
Researchers conclude that (1) SYN115 enters the brain and exerts dose-dependent regional effects, (2) the most prominent of these effects is consistent with deactivation of the indirect pathway as predicted by preclinical studies; and (3) perfusion MRI can provide rapid, quantitative, clinically relevant dose-finding information for pharmaceutical development. [J Neurosci]

Identification and Evaluation of Small Molecule Pan-Caspase Inhibitors in Huntington’s Disease (HD) Models
In this study, the identified nonpeptidic caspase inhibitors were used to confirm the role of caspase-mediated huntingtin proteolysis in HD. These results further implicate caspases as promising targets for HD therapeutic development. [Chem Biol]

Dlxin-1, a Member of MAGE Family, Inhibits Cell Proliferation, Invasion and Tumorigenicity of Glioma Stem Cells
Using the cancer stem cell hypothesis, which attributes the initiation and progression of brain tumors to the cancer-initiating stem cells, researchers have investigated the role of Dlxin-1 in the glioma stem cells propagated by us as a cell culture system comprising of HNGC-2 cells. [Cancer Gene Ther]


Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Reports Clinical Results from Phase 1 NP001 Study in the Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, a privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing high-impact therapeutics that address critical unmet medical needs, primarily for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, announced top-line results from the Company’s Phase 1 clinical study of NP001 for the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. [Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Press Release]

Underwood-Memorial Hospital Joins the Jefferson Neuroscience Network
Underwood-Memorial Hospital of Woodbury, New Jersey has joined the Jefferson Neuroscience Network (JNN) as one of the first New Jersey participants. Through this collaboration, Jefferson and Underwood will provide some of the most sophisticated care and expertise available to patients with time-sensitive neurovascular diseases. [Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience Press Release]

Celldex Therapeutics Reports Positive Results from Rindopepimut Phase II Brain Cancer Study
Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. announced the presentation of complete data for the primary endpoint of ACT III, a multi-center, single arm, Phase II clinical trial of rindopepimut (CDX-110) in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme. [Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. Press Release]

Trophos and MS-Repair Partners Present Promising Data on Novel Approach in Multiple Sclerosis
Trophos SA a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics from discovery to clinical validation for indications with underserved needs in neurology and cardiology, announced that Trophos and partners in the MS-Repair consortium delivered an oral presentation detailing Trophos’ novel approach in multiple sclerosis at the recent Society for Neuroscience Meeting. [Trophos SA Press Release]

Columbia University and Neuromatters, LLC to Develop Brain-Computer Interface Technology for Rapid Image Analysis of Visual Images
Columbia University and Neuromatters, LLC announced that they have entered into an agreement to develop a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) technology for rapid identification of relevant images. [Columbia Technology Ventures Press Release]

Salk Institute Announces $6 Million Gift from Irwin and Joan Jacobs to Create The Renato Dulbecco Chair in Genomics and The Roger Guillemin Chair in Neuroscience
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies announced the establishment of the Renato Dulbecco Chair in Genomics and the Roger Guillemin Chair in Neuroscience based on an endowment of $6 million from Irwin Jacobs, chairman of the Salk’s Board of Trustees, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs. [Salk Institute for Biological Studies Press Release]


National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)

EVENTS (Listed by Date)

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

NEW International Neural Transplantation and Repair 2011 (INTR11)
May 4-8, 2011
Clearwater Beach, United States

Visit our events page to stay up to date with the latest events in the cell, gene and immunotherapy community.


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