Saturday, August 02, 2008

Adult Stem Cells Reprogrammed To Become Myelin-Making Cells
Medical News Today (press release) - UK
This type of research may some day help repair the damage to myelin which occurs in multiple sclerosis (MS). In people with MS the immune system can attack ...
See all stories on this topic

Adult Stem Cells Reprogrammed To Become Myelin-Making Cells

Main Category: Multiple Sclerosis
Article Date: 01 Aug 2008 - 4:00 PDT

Research published in Nature Neuroscience , electronic publication ahead of print) has shown that adult stem cells in mice that are developing into nerve cells can be redirected to turn into myelin -making cells by changing a single gene . This type of research may some day help repair the damage to myelin which occurs in multiple sclerosis (MS).

In people with MS the immune system can attack both myelin and myelin making cells (oligodendrocytes). Limiting the number of myelin making cells impairs the capacity to repair the damage to myelin. One potential treatment option currently being investigated involves encouraging immature stem cells that reside in the adult brain, called neural stem cells, to move to areas of damage and repair myelin.

When neural stem cells are grown in the laboratory scientists have been able to reprogramme them to develop into several different types of brain cells, including oligodendrocytes. This latest research which took place in The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California sought to determine if it would be possible to repeat these experiments in the brain.

A gene called Asc1 which is associated with oligodendrocyte development was introduced into the stem cells in the brain and caused neural stem cells to develop into oligodendrocytes.

This study confirms that adult stem cells in the brain retain their ability to be converted to certain other types of brain cells. Further research is needed to determine the significance of these finding to myelin repair in people with MS.

Dr Laura Bell at the MS Society said: 'Finding a way to cause stem cells which are already present in the brain to repair damaged myelin is an attractive potential treatment option for people with MS. This is early research but it is an important step and we look forward to seeing how the work progresses.'

MS Society

Contact Our News Editors

For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form.

Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:


More layoffs at GSK; Biogen: Tysabri patients have PML;
FierceBiotech - Washington,DC,USA
Blog > Two Tysabri patients have come down with the potentially fatal brain infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, ...
See all stories on this topic

Biogen, Elan stand by MS drug after illnesses
International Herald Tribune - France
AP NEW YORK: Biogen Idec Inc. and Elan Corp. defended their multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri on Friday after reporting two new cases of a potentially fatal ...
See all stories on this topic

Jobs Go Slip Slidin' Away
Forbes - NY,USA
Biogen Idec (nasdaq: BIIB - news - people ) was the ringleader, after additional safety concerns arose regarding its multiple sclerosis therapy Tysabri, ...
See all stories on this topic

EUROPE MARKETS BMW, miners pace retreat in Europe stocks
MarketWatch - USA
See British Energy story. , , ) shares tumbled 45% as the Irish drugmaker late Thursday reported two cases of brain disease in patients taking Tysabri, ...
See all stories on this topic

Drug stocks mixed; Biogen, Elan implode on Tysabri woes
MarketWatch - USA
By Val Brickates Kennedy , , ) imploded on news that two more users of its multiple scelerosis drug Tysabri have contracted a rare brain disorder known as ...
See all stories on this topic

Periodicals Wrap-Up for Friday, August 1st - Salem,OR,USA
In what may cast a dark cloud over the revival of Biogen’s (BIIB) Tysabri drug, the Wall Street Journal reported that two multiple-sclerosis patients ...
See all stories on this topic

Brain Infections Return for Multiple Sclerosis Drug Tysabri
Wall Street Journal Blogs - New York,NY,USA
Two patients taking the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri have developed the type of brain infection that caused the drug to be temporarily pulled from the ...
See all stories on this topic

Brain Infections Sink Elan, Biogen - USA
Tysabri was previously removed from the market after being linked to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), but has since been relaunched with a ...
See all stories on this topic

Biogen Idec reports new brain-infection cases in Tysabri patients - Charlotte,NC,USA
Tysabri was pulled from the market three years ago shortly after its launch due to the sometimes-fatal infection, the full name of which is progressive ...
See all stories on this topic

Elan losses push Iseq over 6% lower
Irish Times - Dublin,Ireland
“The market has completely taken out the valuation of Tysabri,'' Dublin-based Goodbody Stockbrokers analyst Killian Murphy said. “It seems unlikely now that ...
See all stories on this topic

Biogen: Tysabri patients have PML

By Tracy Staton

Biogen Idec CEO James Mullen predicted it, and now it's happened: Two Tysabri patients have come down with the potentially fatal brain infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, that caused Biogen to withdraw the multiple-sclerosis treatment back in 2005. This time around, though, the company doesn't plan to pull the med or further restrict it.

As you know, Tysabri was allowed back onto the market in July 2006 under a strict risk-management program. Since then, 31,600 patients have started on the drug, and Biogen (and its partner Elan) won an additional indication for Crohn's disease. Mullen had been predicting that 100,000 patients would be using Tysabri by 2010, with quarterly sales of $250 million or better by the end of this year.

It's unclear whether this news will decimate those sales. Investors seem to think so; both Biogen and Elan have seen their shares drop precipitously this morning. And the fact that the sickest PML patient--who's now hospitalized--was only taking Tysabri for 14 months, because the duration of treatment seems to be a factor in the disease. (Previous PML patients had used Tysabri for some two years before discovering they had it.) This patient had used other MS drugs before taking Tysabri, which also appears to be a risk factor. The other patient, who's at home and ambulatory, had been on Tysabri for 18 months, and hadn't used any other MS treatments before.

But patients know about the PML risks before they go on Tysabri; the risk-management program makes sure of that. And so far, the number of PML cases appears to be in line with the statistical risk listed on the drug's label. So we'll have to watch the scrip numbers to see whether verification of that risk deters patients.

- read the Wall Street Journal article
- see the story in the Boston Herald

Related Articles:
Biogen CEO: Tysabri to reach $1B in 2008
No new PML cases for Tysabri
Watchdog endorses use of Tysabri for severe MS
After reintroduction, Tysabri builds patient base
FDA allows Tysabri back on market

Read more about: James Mullen, drug safety, PML, Biogen Idec

BioMS Medical completes patient recruitment in phase III US ...
Canada NewsWire (press release) - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
MAESTRO-01: A pivotal phase II/III trial for secondary progressive MS (SPMS) patients in Canada and Europe. 2. MAESTRO-03: A pivotal phase III trial for ...
See all stories on this topic

Cliff Consulting, Inc. Adds Two Influential Former Executives to ... - Salem,OR,USA
... planning processes for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Northern California Chapter, the Hawaii Nature Center, and the Girl Scouts of Hawaii . ...
See all stories on this topic

For the first time, scientists create stem cell line from ALS patient's cells
By Andrea Gawrylewski

Multiple Sclerosis Society of CanadaSociété canadienne de la sclérose en plaques

Daily Living with MS

Dr. Devonshire

Director of the University of British Columbia MS Clinic

View BIO

Q :

Recent research has shown that Vitamin D in high doses may help those with MS. It was recommended that 4000 I.Us be taken daily. Should the whole dosage be taken at once in the morning, or spaced out during the day?

A :

There are studies showing that many people with MS have low levels of vitamin D. There is also a possible association with low levels of sunlight (and therefore vitamin D) with the development of MS in populations. Support for this include the increased incidence of MS the further from the equator (the North-south gradient). There is no clinical or scientific evidence that supplementing with vitamin D helps MS. However, because vitamin D is involved in aspects of the immune system, and because in Canada our UV exposure is low, it makes sense to get these levels up. The Health Canada guidelines of 800 units per day are low and will likely be revised. However, there is no recommended dose. The University of Toronto recently reported their results on using doses of vitamin D supplementation at levels above 4000 units/day and found no real toxicity, at least in the short term. The University of Calgary had previously found that on average it takes about 2000 units to get most people with MS out of their D deficiency. Thus, most clinicians working in the area of MS are recommending 2000 units per day. Probably 4000 units is as high as one should go unless levels are to be checked. It can be taken as a full once per day dose, or can be divided. Many people will experience nausea at doses above 2000, and if this is the case, dividing the dose is suggested. But before you make any decision please discuss this with your family doctor.

8/1/2008 4:28:39 PM

More answers from Dr. Virginia Devonshire

More answers in the category: Daily Living with MS


Human Genome Sciences reports stronger sales, bigger losses - Charlotte,NC,USA
... joint development agreement with GlaxoSmithKline for HGSI’s LymphoStat-B drug candidate to treat lupus, also in its third stage of clinical trials. ...
See all stories on this topic

Researchers for the first time are able to reprogram cells from sick patients. Though hurdles remain, such cells could be used to help screen drugs to treat the crippling disease. >>

Researchers experiment with a chemical compound that they say can produce the benefits of aerobic activity without the work. >>

In tough market, biotech shines

By Maureen Martino

Wall Street has been in a tough spot these last few months, with the S&P 500 losing 9.5 percent over the course of June and July. But the biotech industry has emerged as a safe haven for investors in the face of poor performance in other sectors. "The biotech index is up 9.9 percent so far this year, compared with a decline of 13.7 percent for the S&P 500," notes the Boston Globe.

Investors see small biotech as a smart investment for a number of reasons. The much talked-about weak pipelines at Big Pharma companies are good news for small biotechs. Now more than ever pharma is looking to small developers to fill the gap. Take, for instance, Roche's massive $43.7 billion offer for Genentech, or BMS's smaller but still impressive $4.3 billion bid for ImClone. These deals bolster the sectors as a whole, as investors anticipate similar mergers and pacts with other biotech companies.

The potential for big deals isn't the only reason biotech makes for a good investment these days. Drugs--and the companies who make them--are somewhat insulated from economic pressures. While consumers may opt to hold off on purchasing a new car or computer, patients will buy drugs as long as they work. Investing in biotech comes with its own very real set of risks, but for now, at least, it appears to be preferable to other sectors.

- read the Boston Globe article

ALSO: Take a look at the billion-dollar deals of 2008. Report

PLUS: Bristol's bid for Genentech has triggered talk of more deals among big developers. Report

Related Articles:
The 10 Commandments of biotech investing
Big Biotech's Stock Report
Best and Worst Pharma stocks of 2007
Big Biotech emerges as a shelter in economic storm

Read more about: Biotech Stock, biotech investing

. CA court won't delay 10 percent Medicaid rate cut

By Anne Zieger

A California state court has dashed the hopes of the state's providers, ruling that the state's new 10 percent cut in its Medicaid should move ahead. A group of powerful medical associations, including the California Medical Association and the California Hospital Association, had sought a preliminary injunction to stop the cut. In its ruling, the court found that even though the plaintiffs had shown that actual patient harm could result from the cut, federal law bars private parties from suing over rate cuts to Medi-Cal, as the state's Medicaid program is known.

Not everyone's been shot down, however. The California Pharmacists Association, which filed a separate suit, is also hoping to stop the rate cut. Meanwhile, the California Medical Association is considering filing an emergency appeal with an appellate court. Also, a state legislative committee has recommended shrinking the Medi-Cal cuts, though the recommendations wouldn't take effect unless the full legislature and governor pass a budget including those changes.

To learn more about this conflict:
- read this California Medical Association press release
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

Related Articles:
Study: OR Medicaid cuts push up ED visits
NY Medicaid losses may force big doctor training cuts
CA Medicaid payments to hospitals stalled

Read more about: Medicaid, Medi-Cal, California State Court, California Pharmacists Association


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home