Volume 5.13 | Apr 6

Neural Cell News 5.13, April 6, 2011.
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
 
TOP STORY

Nurturing Newborn Neurons Sharpens Minds in Mice
Adult mice engineered to have more newborn neurons in their brain memory hub excelled at accurately discriminating between similar
experiences — an ability that declines with normal aging and in some anxiety disorders. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in Nature]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Why Stem Cells Don’t Just Want to Make Neurons
Research provides another piece in the puzzle of why it can be so hard to produce large numbers of the same type of cell in the lab – a process that is vital for scaling up stem cell production for therapeutic use. [Press release from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council discussing research presented at UK National Stem Cell Network 2011 Annual Science Conference]

Penn-Led Alzheimer’s Disease Consortium Identifies Four New Genes for Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
In the largest study of its kind, researchers from a consortium led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the University of Miami, and the Boston University School of Medicine, identified four new genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease. [Press release from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Nature Genetics]

New Research Points To Different Explanation for the Basis of Schizophrenia
Research offers new insights into the disruptions in brain chemistry that underlie schizophrenia. [Press release from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]

UAB Research Targets Way to Stop Brain Tumor Cell Invasion
Traditional therapies such as surgery can be ineffective if malignant tumor cells have spread, but researchers may have discovered a way to contain glioma using a drug approved for use in Europe. [Press release from the University of Alabama at Birmingham discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

UT Southwestern Researchers Discover how Brain’s Memory Center Repairs Damage from Head Injury
The study reports significant learning and memory problems in mice who were unable to create new nerve cells in the brain’s memory area, the hippocampus, following brain trauma. [Press release from UT Southwestern Medical Center discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Increasing Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis is Sufficient to Improve Pattern Separation
Here researchers show that inducible genetic expansion of the population of adult-born neurons through enhancing their survival improves performance in a specific cognitive task in which two similar contexts need to be distinguished. [Nature]

Common Variants at ABCA7, MS4A6A/MS4A4E, EPHA1, CD33 and CD2AP are Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers sought to identify new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease through a staged association study (GERAD+) and by testing suggestive loci reported by the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Consortium (ADGC) in a companion paper. [Nat Genet]

Proteoglycan-Specific Molecular Switch for RPTPσ Clustering and Neuronal Extension
Here, researchers report that RPTPσ acts bimodally in sensory neuron extension, mediating CSPG inhibition and HSPG growth promotion. [Science]

Schizophrenia Susceptibility Pathway Neuregulin 1–ErbB4 Suppresses Src Upregulation of NMDA Receptors
Researchers show here that neuregulin 1β–ErbB4 (NRG1β-ErbB4) signaling does not cause general hypofunction of N-methyl D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors (NMDARs). Rather, they find that, in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, NRG1β-ErbB4 signaling suppresses the enhancement of synaptic NMDAR currents by the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Src. [Nat Med]

Mutant Human Embryonic Stem Cells Reveal Neurite and Synapse Formation Defects in Type 1 Myotonic Dystrophy
By using neuronal progeny derived from human embryonic stem cells carrying the causal myotonic dystrophy type 1 mutation, researchers have identified an early developmental defect in genes involved in neurite formation and the establishment of neuromuscular connections. [Cell Stem Cell]

Bradykinin Promotes the Chemotactic Invasion of Primary Brain Tumors
In this study researchers show that glioma cells isolated from patient biopsies express bradykinin 2 receptors (B2R) whose activation causes intracellular Ca2+ oscillations. [J Neurosci]

Temporally Specified Genetic Ablation of Neurogenesis Impairs Cognitive Recovery after Traumatic Brain Injury
Given that many forms of brain injury such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) induce hippocampal neurogenesis, researchers investigated whether these newly generated neurons might play a role in recovery. [J Neurosci]

Suppressor of Fused Is Required to Maintain the Multipotency of Neural Progenitor Cells in the Retina
Data provides novel evidence that Sufu-mediated antagonism of Hh/Gli2 signaling is required to maintain RPC multipotency and identity. [J Neurosci]

mSEL-1L (suppressor/enhancer LIN12 like) Levels Influence Murine Neural Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Lineage Commitment
Here researchers show that mSEL-1L is highly expressed in pluripotent embryonic stem and multipotent neural stem cells, but silenced in all mature neural derivatives (i.e. astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons) by mmu-miR-183. [J Biol Chem]

INDUSTRY NEWS

Walk Away With A RoboSep™ Facebook Photo Contest Winners
STEMCELL Technologies has announced the Grand Prize Winner and Finalists of the “Walk Away With A RoboSep™” Facebook photo contest. [STEMCELL Technologies Inc. Press Release]

Avanir Pharmaceuticals Announces Filing of IND for AVP-923 for the Treatment of Central Neuropathic Pain in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that it has filed an Investigational New Drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin a large Phase II clinical trial of AVP-923, an investigational drug for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. [Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.]

Pfizer Receives Refusal To File Letter From U.S. FDA On Tafamidis New Drug Application
Pfizer Inc. announced that it has received a Refusal to File letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for tafamidis, the company’s novel, oral investigational compound for patients with Transthyretin Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy (TTR-FAP). [Pfizer Inc. Press Release]

UBC Announces Largest Ever Gift to Faculty of Medicine: $15M towards Centre for Brain Health
The University of British Columbia announced a $15 million gift from Vancouver philanthropist Djavad Mowafaghian for a new facility that integrates brain research and patient care. [The University of British Columbia Press Release]

Anavex Screening Healthy Volunteers for Phase I, First-in-Human Clinical Study in Alzheimer’s Disease
Anavex Life Sciences Corp. announced screening of the first healthy volunteers for the Phase I clinical study of ANAVEX 2-73, its lead compound for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. [Anavex Life Sciences Corporation Press Release]

Mayo Clinic Researcher Receives AAN’s Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is awarding the 2011 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research to Brian G. Weinshenker, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and a Fellow with the AAN. Weinshenker will receive the award during the AAN’s 63rd Annual Meeting in in Honolulu, held April 9 through April 16, 2011. [American Academy of Neurology Press Release]

Biogen Idec and Knopp Biosciences Announce Enrollment of the First Patient in a Global Phase III Study of Dexpramipexole for ALS
Biogen Idec and Knopp Biosciences announced enrollment of the first patient in EMPOWER, a multi-national Phase III study evaluating the efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of dexpramipexole in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). [Biogen Idec Press Release]

$100 Million Federal Commitment to Brain Research Remains Crucial to Addressing Canada’s Largest Disease Burden
Brain Canada issued a statement reinforcing the pressing need for targeted Federal government support for brain research funding in Canada. [Brain Canada Press Release]

Neuralstem ALS Trial in Multiple Presentations at Upcoming American Academy of Neurology Meeting
Neuralstem, Inc. announced that the Phase I safety trial of its human spinal cord stem cells (HSSCs) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the subject of three presentations at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 9-16th, in Honolulu, HI. [Neuralstem, Inc. 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 2010 Bangalore Maggot Meeting: Neural Circuits to Behaviour
July 25-27,2011
Karnataka, India

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)

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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