Volume 5.20 | May 25

Neural Cell News 5.20, May 25, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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What Doesn’t Kill The Brain Makes It Stronger
Johns Hopkins scientists say that a newly discovered “survival protein” protects the brain against the effects of stroke in rodent brain tissue by interfering with a particular kind of cell death that’s also
implicated in complications from diabetes and heart attack. [Press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]



New Protein Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
After decades of studying the pathological process that wipes out large volumes of memory, scientists discovered a molecule called c-Abl that has a known role in leukemia also has a hand in Alzheimer’s
disease. [Press release from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease]

Human Brain’s Most Ubiquitous Cell Cultivated in Lab Dish
A research team reports it has been able to direct embryonic and induced human stem cells to become astrocytes in the lab dish. [Press release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison discussing online
prepublication in Nature Biotechnology]

Building a Better Mouse Model: Pitt Researchers Develop New, Gene-Based Model to Study Depression
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have developed a mouse model of major depressive disorder (MDD) that is based on a rare genetic mutation that appears to cause MDD in the
majority of people who inherit it. [Press release from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics]

Monkeys Can Play Monday Morning Quarterback, Too
A new study shows that monkeys also can be Monday morning quarterbacks and visualize alternative, hypothetical outcomes. The findings pinpoint areas of the brain where this process takes place and may give
scientists new clues into how to treat diseases such as depression and schizophrenia. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublications in Neuron]

Can We Get There from Here? Translating Stem Cell Research Into Therapies
A new article published in the journal Neuron provides comprehensive insight into the current status of neural stem cell research and the sometimes labyrinthine pathways leading to stem cell-based
therapies. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in Neuron]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Specification of Transplantable Astroglial Subtypes from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
In this study, human pluripotent stem cells were directed to nearly uniform populations of immature astrocytes (>90% S100ß+ and GFAP+) in large quantities. [Nat Biotechnol]

Iduna Protects the Brain from Glutamate Excitotoxicity and Stroke by Interfering with Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymer-Induced Cell Death
Here researchers identify Iduna, a previously undescribed N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor–induced survival protein that is neuroprotective against glutamate NMDA receptor–mediated excitotoxicity both in vitro and in vivo and against stroke through interfering with PAR polymer–induced cell death (parthanatos). [Nat Med]

Distributed Coding of Actual and Hypothetical Outcomes in the Orbital and Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex
Here researchers show that during a simulated rock-paper-scissors game, rhesus monkeys can adjust their choice behaviors according to both actual and hypothetical outcomes from their chosen and unchosen actions, respectively. In addition, neurons in both dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex encoded the signals related to actual and hypothetical outcomes immediately after they were
revealed to the animal. [Neuron]

Translating Stem Cell Studies to the Clinic for CNS Repair: Current State of the Art and the Need for a Rosetta Stone
Current phase I/II trials using stem cells in the central nervous system (CNS) are the vanguard for the widely anticipated next generation of regenerative therapies and as such are pioneering the stem cell therapy process. [Neuron]

Enhanced Neural Progenitor/Stem Cells Self-Renewal via the Interaction of Stress Inducible Protein 1 with the Prion Protein
In the current report, neurospheres cultured from fetal forebrain of wild-type (Prnp+/+) and PrPC-null (Prnp0/0) mice were maintained for several passages without the loss of self-renewal or multipotentiality, as assessed by their continued capacity to generate neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. [Stem Cells]

p53 Directly Represses Id2 to Inhibit the Proliferation of Neural Progenitor Cells
Researchers have identified Inhibitor of DNA Binding 2 (Id2) as a novel target gene directly repressed by p53 to maintain normal neural progenitor cell proliferation. [Stem Cells]

Amphiphilic Polyanhydride Films Promote Neural Stem Cell Adhesion and Differentiation
The biocompatible amphiphilic polymer films were shown to release laminin in a stable and controlled manner, promote neural cell adhesion and differentiation, and evade inflammatory responses of the immune system. [Tissue Eng Part A]

Functional Analysis of HOXD9 in Human Gliomas and Glioma Cancer Stem Cells
In this study, researchers found high expression of the HOXD9 gene transcript in glioma cell lines and human glioma tissues by quantitative real-time PCR. [Mol Cancer]

Generation of Neural Stem Cells from Embryonic Stem Cells using the Default Mechanism: In Vitro and In Vivo Characterization
Here researchers characterized the neural differentiation pattern of these two cell types in vitro and in vivo when transplanted into the dysmyelinated spinal cords of shiverer mice. [Stem Cells Dev]

Replacement of Homologous Mouse DNA Sequence with Pathogenic 6-Base Human CREB1 Promoter Sequence Creates Murine Model of Major Depressive Disorder
Here researchers report the construction and initial characterization of a congenic mutant C57BL/6NTac mouse model that carries the human pathogenic sequence at the homologous position of the mouse Creb1 promoter. [Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet]


Intellect Neurosciences, Inc. Issues Letter to Shareholders
Intellect Neurosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of disease-modifying therapeutic agents for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease with an internal diversified pipeline and licenses with major pharmaceutical companies covering products in late-stage clinical trials, issued the following Letter to Shareholders from Dr. Daniel Chain, Chairman and CEO. [Intellect Neurosciences, Inc. Press Release]

Oxford BioMedica Announces Presentation of New Clinical Data from ProSavin Phase I/II Study in Parkinsons Disease
Oxford BioMedica plc, a leading gene therapy company, announces that new data from the on-going Phase I/II trial of ProSavin® for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease were presented at the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 14th Annual Meeting held in Seattle, USA by Professor Stéphane Palfi, Principal Investigator at the Henri Mondor Hospital in Paris, on Saturday 21 May 2011. [Oxford BioMedica Press Release]

Penn’s Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center Collaborates to Improve Alzheimer’s Monitoring
Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research will partner with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, L.L.C., to develop algorithms that can identify changes in biomarkers related to disease diagnosis and for monitoring disease progression. [University of Pennsylvania Press Release]

Proteostasis Therapeutics & Elan Form Drug Discovery Initiative
Proteostasis Therapeutics and Elan Corporation announced a strategic business relationship to advance Proteostasis’ platform for the discovery and development of disease-modifying, small molecule drugs and diagnostics for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and a broad array of dementia-related diseases including Alzheimer’s. [Proteostasis Therapeutics 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 Protein Misfolding Disorders
July 18-30, 2011
San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy

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


Tenure Track, Assistant/Associate Professor (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine)

Translational Neuroscience Scholars: Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Diseases (University of Minnesota)

Neuroscience Center Director (The University of Texas Health Science Center)

Postdoc in Neuroscience and Stem Cell Research (University of California – San Francisco)

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