Volume 5.12 | Mar 30

Neural Cell News 5.12, March 30, 2011.
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events

A Possible New Target for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Damage to Susceptible Nerve Cells Can be Reversed
Damage to nerve fibers is a central process in MS, as to whether autoimmune pathology ultimately leads to permanent disability depends largely on how many nerve fibers are damaged over the course of time. A research team set out to define precisely how the damage to the nerve axons occurs. [Press release from the University of Munich discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]



Indications of Alzheimer’s Disease May Be Evident Decades Before First Signs of Cognitive Impairment
Researchers have found that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have lower glucose utilization in the brain than those with normal cognitive function, and that those decreased levels may be detectable approximately 20 years prior to the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. [Press release from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Translational Neuroscience]

Asthma Drug Could Help Control or Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
A drug used to treat asthma has been shown to help reduce the formation of amyloid beta. [Press release from Temple University discussing online prepublication in the American Journal of Pathology]

UCSF, UC Berkeley Join Forces to Advance Frontier of Brain Repair
Neuroscientists and engineers at UCSF and UC Berkeley have joined forces to help pioneer a new frontier of brain repair – the development of devices that would allow patients with such conditions as stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and Lou Gehrig’s disease to control prosthetics through thoughts alone. [University of California, San Francisco Press Release]

Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Researchers Detail Phenomenon That Explains Mechanisms Neurons Use To Decide How To Transmit Information
Researchers have found two ways that neurons accomplish this, establishing a fundamental mechanism by which neurons communicate. [Press release from the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

Method Reveals New View of Human Nerve Cells, Opening Door to Potential Drug Targets
Scientists have found a way to uncover potential drug targets that have so far remained hidden from researchers’ view. [The Scripps Research Institute Press Release]

New Technique Allows Noninvasive Tracking of Stem Cells in the Brain 
A new technique using “quantum dots” produced through nanotechnology is a promising approach to monitoring the effects of stem cell therapies for stroke and other types of brain damage. [Press release from Wolters Kluwer Health discussing online prepublication in Neurosurgery]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Regulates Neuronal Polarization by Interfering with PI 3-Kinase Localization
Here, researchers found that activation of the energy-sensing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway suppressed axon initiation and neuronal polarization. [Science]

A Reversible Form of Axon Damage in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis
Here researchers use in vivo imaging to identify a previously undescribed variant of axon damage in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. [Nat Med]

Single-Neuron Dynamics in Human Focal Epilepsy
Here researchers report the first examination of spike train patterns in large ensembles of single neurons during seizures in persons with epilepsy. [Nat Neurosci]

Deletion of a Remote Enhancer Near ATOH7 Disrupts Retinal Neurogenesis, Causing NCRNA Disease
Researchers found that nonsyndromic congenital retinal nonattachment (NCRNA) is caused by a 6,523-bp deletion that spans a remote cis regulatory element 20 kb upstream from ATOH7 (Math5), a bHLH transcription factor gene that is required for retinal ganglion cell (RGC) and optic nerve development. [Nat Neurosci]

Timescale-Dependent Shaping of Correlation by Olfactory Bulb Lateral Inhibition
Here, researchers examine this problem by measuring the effects of olfactory bulb inhibition on the pairwise statistics of mitral cell spiking. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Prospero-Related Homeobox 1 Gene (Prox1) is Regulated by Canonical Wnt Signaling and Has a Stage-Specific Fole in Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis
The data presented here characterize a molecular pathway from Wnt signaling to a transcriptional target leading to granule cell differentiation within the adult brain and identify a stage-specific function
for Prox1 in the process of adult neurogenesis. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Cell Cycle Restriction by Histone H2AX Limits Proliferation of Adult Neural Stem Cells
Adult neural stem cell proliferation is dynamic and has the potential for massive self-renewal yet undergoes limited cell division in vivo. Here, researchers report an epigenetic mechanism regulating
proliferation and self-renewal. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Grafted Neural Progenitors Integrate and Restore Synaptic Connectivity across the Injured Spinal Cord
Here researchers tested the ability of graft-derived neurons to reestablish connectivity by forming neuronal relays between injured dorsal column (DC) sensory axons and the denervated dorsal column nuclei
(DCN). [J Neurosci]

RBP-J Promotes the Maturation of Neuronal Progenitors
This study shows a novel RBP-J function that promotes intermediate neural progenitor differentiation. [Dev Biol]

Proteasome Inhibitors Sensitize Glioma Cells and Glioma Stem Cells to TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis by PKCε-Dependent Downregulation of AKT and XIAP Expressions
In this study researchers examined the effects of proteasome inhibitors on cell apoptosis in TRAIL-resistant glioma cells and glioma stem cells (GSCs). Treatment with proteasome inhibitors and TRAIL induced
apoptosis in all the resistant glioma cells and GSCs, but not in astrocytes and neural progenitor cells. [Cell Signal]

Near-Infrared Fluorescence Labeling Allows Noninvasive Tracking of Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Transplanted Into Rat Infarct Brain
The objective was to evaluate whether near-infrared (NIR)-emitting fluorescence tracer, quantum dots, would be useful to noninvasively visualize the bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) transplanted into the
infarct brain in living animals. [Neurosurgery]


Landmark Ruling Comes into Effect: Treatment Now Available for People in England and Wales With Mild Alzheimer’s At Time of Diagnosis
Eisai Co., Ltd. announced that new Alzheimer’s disease treatment guidance issued by the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) came into effect on March 23, 2011 (U.K. local time), marking a significant change to an earlier 2007 ruling which restricted access to medication for patients with moderate disease only. [Eisai Co., Ltd. Press Release]

Yuma Therapeutics Awarded a Research Grant by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to Develop Novel Therapeutics for Alzheimer’s Disease
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) announced that it has awarded a grant of $249,810 to Yuma Therapeutics Corporation to develop small molecules to treat Alzheimer’s disease. [Therapeutics Daily]

Prize for Research on Multiple Sclerosis Goes to Lawrence Steinman
Lawrence Steinman, MD, the George A. Zimmerman Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, will receive the 2011 Multiple Sclerosis International Federation Charcot Award, a biennial award that recognizes a lifetime achievement in research into the understanding or treatment of multiple sclerosis. [Stanford University School of Medicine Press Release]

Neuroscience Groups Alarmed as Pharma Bolts Brain Drug R&D
Facing an unusually high risk of failure at the same time investors are demanding that Big Pharma show them the new products, a slate of European companies has dropped out or scaled back work in neuroscience. [FierceBiotech]

Neurologix Announces Year End 2010 Results
Neurologix, Inc., a biotechnology company engaged in the development of innovative gene therapies for disorders of the brain and central nervous system, announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2010. [Neurologix, Inc. Press Release]

Canadian Budget Targets Brain Research, But Critics See Political Motives
A private foundation’s brain research initiative would receive significant government support in a new budget unveiled yesterday by Canada’s minority Conservative Party. But that approach to research is exactly what’s wrong with the 2011-2012 budget, say its critics: New investments are reserved for large, targeted ventures with political clout, while investigator-driven basic science continues to be squeezed. [ScienceInsider]

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Supports ADispell Technology with a Grant to Advance Novel Drug Candidates for Alzheimer’s Disease
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) announced that it has awarded a grant of $170,750 to ADispell Inc. to develop small molecule drugs designed to halt the progression of cognition loss that occurs with Alzheimer’s Disease. [ADispell Inc. 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)


NEW 12th International Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery Conference
September 26-27, 2011
Jersey City, United States

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


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)

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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