Volume 5.10 | Mar 16

Neural Cell News 5.10, March 16, 2011.
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
 
TOP STORY

Key Mutations Act Cooperatively to Fuel Aggressive Brain Tumor
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital investigators use a novel model system to show how specific mutations can induce glioma formation in multiple regions of the brain and to begin studying patient response to a new generation of targeted therapies. [Press release from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital discussing online prepublication in Cancer Cell]

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Webinar: ALDHbr Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Aldehyde Dehydrogenase bright (ALDHbr) cells have been used in preclinical models and human clinical trials in applications such as critical limb ischemia, ischemic stroke, acute liver failure and ischemic heart failure.1 Learn more about how ALDHbr cells could be used in regenerative medicine by registering today for an exclusive webinar presented by Dr. Andrew E. Balber of Cicada Biopharmaceutical Consulting.

Join us on April 7 at:
10AM EST (ideal for Europe) | 2PM EST (ideal for Americas) | 8PM EST (ideal for Asia-Pacific)

1Reviewed in Balber AE. Stem Cells (in press). DOI: 10.1002/stem.613.

Dr. Balber holds equity in and is a consultant to Aldagen, Inc., a company that is developing research, diagnostic, and therapeutic products based on detecting and isolating ALDHbr cells.


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SCIENCE NEWS

Newly Discovered Role for Enzyme in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Scientists have now found a way to prevent the activation of microglia and consequently the inflammation they cause. [Press release from
Karolinska Institutet discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Miniature ‘Wearable’ PET Scanner Ready for Use
Scientists have demonstrated the efficacy of a “wearable,” portable PET scanner they’ve developed for rats. The device will give
neuroscientists a new tool for simultaneously studying brain function and behavior in fully awake, moving animals. [Press release from Brookhaven National Laboratory discussing online prepublication in Nature Methods]

UTHealth Study: Stem Cells May Provide Treatment for Brain Injuries
Stem cells derived from a patient’s own bone marrow were safely used in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury, according to results
of a Phase I clinical trial at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). [Press release from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston discussing online prepublication in Neurosurgery]

New Evidence for Innate Knowledge
Do we have innate knowledge? Neuroscientists working on the Blue Brain Project are finding proof that this is the case. They’ve discovered
that neurons make connections independently of a subject’s experience. [Press release from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

The Memory Uncovers the Secret of its “Fuel”
Researchers have highlighted the crucial role played by a by-product of glucose – lactate – in the formation of long-term memory. [Press
release from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne discussing online prepublication in Cell]

Mouse Nose Nerve Cells Mature After Birth, Allowing Bonding, Recognition With Mother, Penn Study Finds 
Scientists demonstrated that neurons in the noses of mice mature after birth. [Press release from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discussing online
prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Penn Study: ‘GPS System’ for Protein Synthesis in Nerve Cells Gives Clues for Understanding Brain Disorders
Scientists explain how a class of RNA molecules is able to target the genetic building blocks that guide the functioning of a specific part
of the nerve cell. Abnormalities at this site are in involved in epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, and cognitive disorders. [Press release from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Research Study Explores Gene Therapy Treatment to Reduce Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Physicians at Rush University Medical Center are testing a unique gene therapy product called CERE-120 to evaluate if its use can improve the
symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. [Rush University Medical Center Press Release]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Caspase Signalling Controls Microglia Activation and Neurotoxicity
Here researchers show that the orderly activation of caspase-8 and caspase-3/7, known executioners of apoptotic cell death, regulate
microglia activation through a protein kinase C (PKC)-delta-dependent pathway. [Nature]

Astrocyte-Neuron Lactate Transport Is Required for Long-Term Memory Formation
Researchers report that, in the rat hippocampus, learning leads to a significant increase in extracellular lactate levels that derive from
glycogen, an energy reserve selectively localized in astrocytes. [Cell]

Cooperativity within and among Pten, p53, and Rb Pathways Induces High-Grade Astrocytoma in Adult Brain
Mutations in the PTEN, TP53, and RB1 pathways are obligate events in the pathogenesis of human glioblastomas. Researchers induced various
combinations of deletions in these tumor suppressors in astrocytes and neural precursors in mature mice, resulting in astrocytomas ranging from grade III to grade IV (glioblastoma). [Cancer Cell]

Simultaneous Assessment of Rodent Behavior and Neurochemistry Using a Miniature Positron Emission Tomograph
The simultaneity of the positron emission tomography and behavioral data provides a multidimensional tool for studying the functions of
different brain regions and their molecular constituents. [Nat Methods]

Cytoplasmic Intron Sequence-Retaining Transcripts Can Be Dendritically Targeted via ID Element Retrotransposons
Here, researchers show that intron sequences are retained in a number of dendritically-targeted mRNAs, by using microarray and Illumina
sequencing of isolated dendritic mRNA as well as in situ hybridization. [Neuron]

A Synaptic Organizing Principle for Cortical Neuronal Groups
When scientists investigated synaptic connectivity in groups of pyramidal neurons in the neocortex, they found that both connectivity and
synaptic weights were surprisingly predictable. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Olfactory Marker Protein Is Critical for Functional Maturation of Olfactory Sensory Neurons and Development of Mother Preference
Using patch-clamp technique on mouse olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) with a defined odorant receptor, researchers demonstrate that OSNs
exhibit functional maturation during the first month of postnatal life by developing faster response kinetics, higher sensitivity, and most intriguingly, higher selectivity. [J Neurosci]

Autologous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cell Therapy for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Children
The objective of this study was to determine whether autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells are a safe treatment for severe TBI in
children. [Neurosurgery]

INDUSTRY NEWS

Rensselaer Professor Utilizing New York State Grant To Study Adult Stem Cells
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Deanna Thompson is utilizing more than $300,000 in New York state funding as part of the state stem cell research program, NYSTEM, to study adult neural stem cells. [Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Press Release]

IPX066 Demonstrates Efficacy and Safety in ADVANCE-PD Phase III Study in Treatment of Advanced Parkinson’s Disease
Impax Pharmaceuticals, the branded products division of Impax Laboratories, Inc., announced statistically significant, positive, top-line results of the ADVANCE-Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Phase III clinical study of the safety and efficacy of IPX066 versus immediate-release carbidopa-levodopa in advanced PD patients experiencing motor fluctuations. [Impax Laboratories, Inc. Press Release]

NIH Scientists Warming to New Translational Center
Despite concerns previously expressed by many extramural scientists, National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus researchers who showed up to hear Director Francis Collins unveil a proposed new center devoted to translational research appeared to like the idea. [ScienceInsider]

UMass, U.K. Stem Cell Banks Sign Agreement
As part of Gov. Deval Patrick’s Innovation Economy Partnership Mission 2011, global leaders in the field of stem cell banking and characterization—the University of Massachusetts Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry and the United Kingdom Stem Cell Bank—signed an agreement to share best practices for stem cell banking and to collaborate on standards for stem cell line characterization, production and distribution in the U.S. and U.K. [The University of Massachusetts Medical School Press Release]

UC San Diego Opens New Down Syndrome Center
Doctors and scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine will soon open one of the first programs in the United States to combine academic research with the treatment of adults with Down syndrome. [University of California, San Diego Press Release]

Allon Announces Presentation of Davunetide Data during 10th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Allon Therapeutics Inc. announced that clinical and research data on the impact of the Company’s lead drug candidate davunetide, on Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, are being presented during two sessions of the 10th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease this week in Barcelona, Spain. [Allon Therapeutics Inc. Press Release]

Neuralstem Announces 2010 Financial Results, Provides Update
Neuralstem, Inc. provided a financial and business update for the year ended December 31, 2010. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. Announces Commencement of MS Research Program
Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. is pleased to announce that the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) phase II clinical trial is proceeding. [Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. Press Release]

POLICY NEWS

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

NEW Gordon Research Conference: Gradient Sensing & Directed Cell Migration
June 5-10, 2011
Les Diablerets, Switzerland

Visit
our events page to see a complete list of events in the neural cell community.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Lab Technologist – Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies)

Assistant Professor (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering)

Tenure Track Faculty Positions in Neuroscience (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

Field Applications Specialist – Cell Therapy (Pall Corporation) 

Chair in Stem Cell Neurobiology (Cardiff University)

Research Position on Imaging Neurodegeneration (Singapore Bioimaging Consortium)

Implementation Coordinator – Maternity Leave Contract (STEMSOFT Software Inc.)

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