PNR&D team publishes key Alzheimer’s findings

Scientists in the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery drew one step closer to understanding the benefits stem cells provide in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, with publication last month of an article in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

The article was one of five published by PNR&D scientists in January alone.

The Alzheimer’s article, “Human Cortical Neural Stem Cells Expressing Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I: A Novel Cellular Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease,” e-published January 7, 2016, demonstrated in cell culture models that stem cells expressing a neuroprotective growth factor promote the development of new cells and synapses, enrich the environment for neurons to thrive, and offer improved protection against Alzheimer’s disease insults. The paper also demonstrates that the cells can survive in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease following transplantation, supporting continued testing for effects on learning and memory. The stem-cell line used in the experiment was developed by PNR&D scientists in conjunction with Neuralstem, Inc.

“We believe that injecting stem cells into the brains of diseased mice will have astonishing effects on memory and cognition,” said Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s principle investigator and Director of the PNR&D. “By digging deeper into properties of these cells, we are now beginning to understand how that will happen and gaining knowledge which will ultimately allow us to apply those lessons to the human brain.”

PNR&D scientists have already advanced stem cell therapies to larger mammals and hope to conduct a human clinical trial on stem cell therapies for Alzheimer’s disease by 2018.

Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.2 million people in the United States, a number that is expected to double by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by an accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain which, over time, injure and kill brain nerve cells.  As the nerve cells are lost, so is a person’s ability to think, reason and function normally.

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PNR&D scientists had a prolific month of publishing, including a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the largest medical journal in the United States:

Electrodiagnostic Tests in Polyneuropathy and Radiculopathy. Callaghan BC, Burke JF, Feldman EL. JAMA. 2016 Jan 19;315(3):297-8. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.16832.

Program scientists also published these articles in January:

The role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in hippocampal insulin resistance. Sims-Robinson C, Bakeman A, Glasser R, Boggs J, Pacut C, Feldman EL. Experimental Neurology. 2016 Jan 13;277:261-267. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.01.007.

Antisense Oligonucleotides for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Why No Neurologist Should Skip This. Jacobson RD, Feldman EL. JAMA Neurology. 2016 Jan 4:1-2. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.4011. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available.

Differential impact of type-1 and type-2 diabetes on control of heart rate in mice. Stables CL, Auerbach DS, Whitesall SE, D’Alecy LG, Feldman EL. Autonomic Neuroscience. 2016 Jan;194:17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2015.12.006. Epub 2015 Dec 17.