Volume 4.48 | Dec 8

Neural Cell News 4.48, December 8, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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Study Reveals New Possibility of Reversing Damage Caused by MS  ShareThis
Damage caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) could be reversed by activating stem cells that can repair injury in the central nervous system, a study has shown. [Press release from the University of Cambridge discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

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New Oncogene Found for Neuroblastoma
Pediatric cancer researchers have identified variations in a gene as important contributors to neuroblastoma. The study team found that common variants in the LMO1 gene increase the risk of developing an aggressive form of neuroblastoma, and also mark the gene for continuing to drive the cancer’s progression once it forms. [Press release from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia discussing online prepublication in Nature]
Stroke Damage Reversed by Jumpstarting Nerve Fibers
A new technique that jump-starts the growth of nerve fibers could reverse much of the damage caused by strokes, researchers report. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Stroke]
New Gene Found for Depression
A large genetic study of people with major depression has found that a duplicated region of DNA on chromosome 5 predisposes people to the disorder. The gene involved plays an important role in the development of nerve cells, adding to evidence that disruptions in neurotransmission networks form a biological basis for depression. [Press release from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia discussing online prepublication in PLoS ONE]
Researchers Take Major Step Toward First Biological Test for Autism
Researchers have developed the best biologically based test for autism to date. The test, which uses MRI to measure deviations in brain circuitry, was able to detect the disorder in individuals with high-functioning autism with 94 percent accuracy. [Press release from the University of Utah School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Autism Research]

New Brain Tumor Vaccine to Be Tested in Humans
For patients with low-grade gliomas, a shot in the arm might soon lead to a new treatment therapy. A groundbreaking, first in humans vaccine will be tested in an early phase clinical trial that will soon begin at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. [Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Press Release]
Nicotine Exposure in Pregnant Rats Puts Offspring at Risk for Learning Disabilities
Exposure to nicotine during pregnancy leads to a decrease in adult stem cells and a change in synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of the offspring, according to new research. [Press release from the University of Alabama at Birmingham discussing research presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience]

Can Transplanted Neuronal Progenitor Cells Develop into Functioning Neurons?
Investigators at the University of Florida have demonstrated that adult human neuronal progenitor cells generate functional neurons that integrate into host neuronal networks in the cerebral cortex. [Press release from Newswise discussing research presented at the 64th American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting]
Drug Combination Twice as Effective as Single Drug in Protecting Brain Cells
The anticonvulsant diazepam, a first line therapy for status epilepticus, is neuroprotective when administered in high doses within two hours from seizure onset. Researchers report that the combination of low-dose diazepam and NS-398, a COX-2 inhibitor, has twice the neuroprotective effect of NS-398 alone. [Press release from Newswise discussing research presented at the 64th American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting]
Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Reports Clinical Results from Phase I/II NP002 Study in the Treatment of Dyskinesias Resulting from Levodopa Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals announced top-line results from the Company’s Phase I/II clinical study of NP002 for the treatment of dyskinesias resulting from levodopa therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease. [Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Press Release]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Integrative Genomics Identifies LMO1 as a Neuroblastoma Oncogene
Data show that common polymorphisms at the LMO1 locus are strongly associated with susceptibility to developing neuroblastoma, but also may influence the likelihood of further somatic alterations at this locus, leading to malignant progression. [Nature]

EphB Signaling Controls Lineage Plasticity of Adult Neural Stem Cell Niche Cells
Researchers demonstrate a high degree of phenotypic plasticity of the two main niche cell types, ependymal cells and astrocytes, in the neurogenic lateral ventricle walls in the adult mouse brain. [Cell Stem Cell]

Retinoid X Receptor Gamma Signaling Accelerates CNS Remyelination
Results indicate that retinoid X receptor gamma is a positive regulator of endogenous oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation and remyelination and might be a pharmacological target for regenerative therapy in the CNS. [Nat Neurosci]

ftz-f1 and Hr39 Opposing Roles on EcR Expression During Drosophila Mushroom Body Neuron Remodeling
Researchers found that the ftz-f1 and Hr39 pathway apparently acts independently of TGFbeta signaling, suggesting that EcR-B1 is the target of two parallel molecular pathways that act during gamma neuron remodeling. [Nat Neurosci]

SynCAM 1 Adhesion Dynamically Regulates Synapse Number and Impacts Plasticity and Learning
The reciprocal effects of increased SynCAM 1 expression and loss reveal that this adhesion molecule contributes to the regulation of synapse number and plasticity, and impacts how neuronal networks undergo activity-dependent changes. [Neuron]

Neural Correlates of Variations in Event Processing during Learning in Central Nucleus of Amygdala
Researchers found that activity in central nucleus of the amygdala neurons increased selectively at the time of omission and declined again with learning. [Neuron]
TNF-Alpha Respecifies Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells to a Neural Fate and Promotes Migration Toward Experimental Glioma
Results provide evidence that culture-expansion of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in the presence of TNF-alpha triggers neural gene expression and functional capacities, which could improve the use of hMSCs in the treatment of neurological disorders including malignant gliomas. [Cell Death Differ]
Exploiting Bacterial Peptide Display Technology to Engineer Biomaterials for Neural Stem Cell Culture
Researchers selected an unbiased bacterial peptide display library for the ability to bind adult neural stem cells (NSCs), and 44 bacterial clones expressing peptides were identified and found to bind to NSCs with high avidity. [Biomaterials]

Duplication of the SLIT3 Locus on 5q35.1 Predisposes to Major Depressive Disorder
SLIT3 duplication is a novel association which explains a definitive proportion of the largely unknown etiology of major depressive disorder. [PLoS ONE]
Atypical Diffusion Tensor Hemispheric Asymmetry in Autism
Researchers hypothesized that further study of white matter microstructure in the superior temporal gyrus and temporal stem, two brain regions in the temporal lobe containing circuitry central to language, emotion, and social cognition, would identify a useful combination of classification features and further understand autism neuropathology. [Autism Res]


Major Partnership Establishes Professorship in Prevention of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Research on preventing the devastating onset of dementia is about to break new ground as McGill University, in partnership with Pfizer Canada, has announced the creation of a professorship for the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s-related diseases. [McGill University Press Release]

Johnson & Johnson Deal Pairs Two Alzheimer’s Powerhouses
GE Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson are teaming up in a research pact that pairs one of the most advanced imaging agents for Alzheimer’s disease with one of the most advanced drugs being tested to fight it. [Reuters]

Neurologix Completes Additional $7 Million Financing
Neurologix, Inc., a biotechnology company developing innovative gene therapies for disorders of the brain and central nervous system, announced that it has received additional financing from three of its largest existing investors, or their affiliates: Corriente Advisors; GE Pension Trust; and Palisade Capital Management, LLC. [Neurologix, Inc. Press Release]
State Receives $16 Million for Biomedical Research
Ten colleges and universities in the state, including the University of South Carolina, have received $16 million to support a network to develop biomedical-research programs in areas such as regenerative medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology. [University of South Carolina Press Release]
California Stem Cell Inc. Files IND to Commence Phase I Clinical Trial in Spinal Muscular Atrophy
California Stem Cell, Inc. (CSC) and Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy announced that CSC has filed an investigational new drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to commence a Phase I safety study on a jointly-developed stem cell-derived motor neuron transplantation therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type I. [California Stem Cell, Inc. Press Release]

Delivering Drugs to the Brain: New Research into Targeted Treatment of Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Illnesses
Pankaj Karande, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, is among a new generation of scientists and engineers developing exciting and novel new techniques to treat some of the most complex brain illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and brain cancer. His research has already attracted the interest of the Goldhirsh Foundation and now has garnered the support of the Alzheimer’s Association with an additional $80,000 in research funding. [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Press Release]

NHS Reforms Could See Patients Miss Out on Groundbreaking Drugs to Cure Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
A leading drug company is threatening to delay the introduction of groundbreaking treatment for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia in response to the Government’s planned NHS reforms. [The Telegraph]

New International Competition Focuses on Early Career Scientists
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute launched an international competition to select up to 35 early career scientists working at academic institutions in 18 countries on five continents with the goal of helping these talented individuals establish independent research programs. [Howard Hughes Medical Institute 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

 27th Annual Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference
December 17, 2010
Pittsburgh, United States

NEW  The 3rd Guangzhou International Conference on Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
December 17-19, 2010
Guangzhou, China

Keystone Symposia — Adult Neurogenesis
January 9-14, 2011
Taos, United States

5th Annual Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine World Congress
January 24-25, 2011
San Diego, United States

Phacilitate 7th Annual Cell & Gene Therapy Forum 2011
January 24-26, 2011
Washington, D.C., United States

NEW  Cell Culture World Congress 2011 – Optimising Cell Culture Development for Biopharmaceutical, Bioprocessing and Manufacture
February 28-March 2, 2011
Munich, Germany

NEW PITTCON Conference & Expo 2011
March 13-18, 2011
Atlanta, United States

Trends in Central Nervous System Malignancies
March 25-26, 2011
Bucharest, Romania

NEW United Kingdom National Stem Cell Network 2011 Annual Scientific Conference
March 30-April 1, 2011
York, United Kingdom

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

NEW World Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2011
May 9-11, 2011
London, United Kingdom

NEW 13th Annual C21 BioVentures
May 24-26, 2011
Napa, 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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