Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cleveland Clinic recruiting MS patients for drug trial

Cleveland Clinic recruiting MS patients for drug trial
WKYC-TV - Cleveland,OH,USA
The Clinic is part of a phase 3 trial to test Laquinimod, an oral medication. Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Director of the Clinic's Experimental Therapeutics Program ...
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Elan (NYSE:ELN): PML Near Term Pain could Yield Long Term Tysabri ...
istockAnalyst.com - Salem,OR,USA
... for the drug by demonstrating successful intervention using plasmapharesis (PLEX, initial details


of which were presented at ECTRIMS in October 2007). ...
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Adult Stem Cells Reprogrammed To Become Myelin-Making Cells
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 01 Aug 2008






Applicability of Biomarkers Is Far-Reaching
Genetic Engineering News (press release) - New Rochelle,NY,USA
... that were developed for multiple sclerosis (MS) to differentiate relapsing/remitting MS from primary progressive MS and secondary progressive MS. ...
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Spanish Researchers Take Part In The Discovery Of A New Immune Disease
>From the moment we are born, we all come into continuous contact with microbes that can cause disease. To deal with them, we have a highly effective immune system that allows our bodies to identify and eliminate agents that cause infections.



New Discovery May Lead To Immunization Against Cardiovascular Disease
Low levels of naturally occurring antibodies may represent an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke in men. This discovery, published in the academic journal Atherosclerosis, has now led to attempts to develop an immunization against cardiovascular disease.



Blues ‘N' Brews features new bands
Westford Eagle - Concord,MA,USA
Proceeds from this year’s Blues ‘N’ Brews will go to Multiple Sclerosis Society/Blister Buddies, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Ronan McElligott Memorial ...
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Biogen Idec, Elan report brain infection in Tysabri users - Update
RTT News - Williamsville,NY,USA
Tysabri, co-marketed by the two companies and previously named Antegren, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of multiple ...
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[Accelerated Cure Project Announce] Two More PML Cases In Tysabri

Biogen Idec just reported two confirmed cases of a deadly brain
infection progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients
taking the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri. Both are in Europe and one
patient is stable and at home, the other is still hospitalized.
http://www.acceleratedcure.org:8080/node/3334
Bummer.
--
.......................................................................
Art Mellor : Accelerated Cure Project for MS : art@acceleratedcure.org
President : 300 Fifth Ave Waltham MA 02451 : 617/899-2360 (cell)
http://www.acceleratedcure.org/offerings/ : 781/487-0008 (main)
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one
where they sprang up.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Neurons Created From Skin Cells Of Elderly ALS Patients
Less than 27 months after announcing that he had institutional permission to attempt the creation of patient and disease-specific stem cell lines, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Principal Faculty member Kevin Eggan proclaimed the effort a success - though politically imposed restrictions and scientific advances prompted him to use a different technique than originally planned.



Scientists Turn Skin Cells into Motor Neurons in ALS Patients

Scientists Turn Skin Cells Into Motor Neurons in ALS Patients

Feat could one day lead to tailor-made cells to treat fatal disease, researchers say
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_67621.html

HealthDay
Thursday, July 31, 2008

HealthDay news imageTHURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have turned skin cells from patients with Lou Gehrig's disease into motor neurons that are genetically identical to the patients' own neurons.

An unlimited number of these neurons can now be created and studied in the laboratory, a capability which should result in a better understanding of the disease and, one day, lead to new treatments or even the production of healthy cells that can replace the diseased ones.

"The hope of some scientists is that they might be able to harness stem cells and program them to generate pluripotent stem cell lines [capable of differentiating into many different types of cells] which have the genes of patients," said Kevin Eggan, co-author of a paper appearing July 31 in the online version of Science. "This would open up the possibility of producing a large supply of immune-matched cells to that patient that could be used in transplantation methodologies."

"The other hope, and one that's much closer upon us . . . is if you could produce the cell types that become sick in that person, you might be able to use them in the laboratory to come to understand basic aspects of the disease and take the study of disease out of patients, where it's very difficult, and put it into the Petri dish," added Eggan, who is a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and spoke about the research at a teleconference Wednesday.

However, the actual therapeutic potential of this approach is still years away.

Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is caused by the degeneration and death of spinal motor neurons, which carry messages from the spinal cord to the body's muscles. This leads to paralysis of muscles and, eventually, death. Some 30,000 people in the United States suffer from the disease, which has no cure.

"We don't at all fully understand [ALS], and it is our lack of understanding of that disease process which we believe is preventing us from developing more effective [treatments]," said Christopher Henderson, a co-author on the paper and co-director of the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease at Columbia University. "Because the disease process is happening in the spinal cord in the central nervous system of patients, we don't at all have access to living examples of the neurons that are undergoing the disease process. . . . No way could we go to ALS patients and take samples of their motor neurons."

The scientists had originally planned to use somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), or "therapeutic cloning," to try to accomplish this feat. That process involves removing the genetic material from a donated human oocyte and replacing it with genetic material from the skin cells of patients. The approach has been hindered by political, ethical and other obstacles.

Instead, researchers decided to take adult skin cells from two elderly sisters (aged 82 and 89) with a genetic form of ALS and reprogrammed them into cells resembling embryonic stem cells using a technique called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS has already been successfully used to reprogram healthy adult cells.

This study was the first to apply the technique to cells from ill patients.

Those embryonic stem cells were then transformed into motor neurons, although it's not yet clear if the cells will suffer from the same disease process.

Although only about 2 percent of people with ALS suffer from this particular form of the disease, Eggan and Henderson believe the approach has promise for studying other forms of the disease. In fact, the research team is already working on producing similar cell lines from patients with the "sporadic" form of the disease.

It was also encouraging that the feat was accomplished in the two of the oldest, if not the oldest, ALS patients in the United States. Researchers didn't know if the ravages of the disease might have interfered with their ability to reprogram the cells.

The big question on everyone's mind is whether iPS will eliminate the need for somatic cell nuclear transfer. Eggan said it won't.

"There are still several important caveats for these cells that we've made that are important to be aware of," Eggan said. For one thing, the cells were infected with genetically modified viruses, making them potentially dangerous to humans. Future research will no doubt focus on ways to replace those viruses with chemicals.

"[But], for the moment, we're going to have to press forward with SCNT research just in case that doesn't work out," Eggan said. So far, though, no one knows if human SCNT is even possible.

HealthDay
Copyright (c) 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow

Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Could one day lead to treatments for baldness, researchers say
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_67626.html

HealthDay
Thursday, July 31, 2008

HealthDay news imageTHURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have taken a step forward in understanding the mechanisms behind a problem that has bedeviled many men, and some women, for all of history: hair loss.

The study identifies a key signaling molecule that tells hair follicles to start the hair-growing cycle.

"These are very complex molecular signals, and the authors have very nicely shown that there is one molecule, laminins 511, that is a very important signal to tell the hair molecule to move through the process. It's part of a basic biological understanding," said Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

The researchers, reporting in the Aug. 1 issue of Genes & Development, feel the findings may one day hold the key to treating male-pattern baldness, as well as hair loss from chemotherapy or even to restore hair on burn victims.

But, as so often happens, the study was conducted in mice and, as Crystal pointed out, "Mice are not just little men and women. They are different than us and also different in their hair."

A series of complex molecular signals tell hair follicles to go through a cycle of follicle growing, hair growing, follicle receding and hair receding, Crystal explained.

The same group of researchers had previously found that the protein laminin-511 was important to hair development.

In this study, the authors found out why. It was originally thought that laminin-511 was made from the cells of the outer layer of the skin (epithelium) and acted on the epithelium.

It now turns out, however, that the protein, although produced by the epithelium, actually penetrates into the inner layer of the skin (dermis) to kick start the hair-growing process.

"So laminin-511 is an early epithelial message to the dermis to say let's start producing hair," said study senior author Dr. Peter Marinkovich, an associate professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine and member of the Stanford Cancer Center. "Hair is formed as a result of cooperation and communication between the two layers."

"We knew that the two layers of the skin are important in hair formation, and we knew that there was some early epithelial signal hypothesized a long time ago, but no one knew what it was until now," he added.

In mice, laminin-511 convinced hair to grow at the equivalent of about the eighth month of pregnancy, but Marinkovich and his colleagues are hoping it might also work later in the life cycle.

Male baldness associated with aging would be an obvious target. "The hair follicles are still there, but they get stuck in the cycle, so it's not well understood why they're stuck and . . . how do you get them unstuck," Crystal said. "The hope, of course, is that you can apply this to humans, but there are some cautions in all that. Biology is very complex. There are a lot of checks and balances. You don't want hair follicles and cells in hair follicles to be growing too much or not enough. The on-and-off signals that are dampening that and controlling that are very, very complex and not well understood. This is far, far from humans."

HealthDay
Copyright (c) 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Handcyclists' cross-Canada fundraising tour here tomorrow
Burlington Post - Burlington,ON,Canada
... men are handcycling across the nation to raise $10 million in support of spinal regeneration research at McMaster University under Dr. Michel Rathbone. ...
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What's New in Orthopaedic Research
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (subscription) - USA
The use of gene therapy continues to be developed for the treatment of arthritis, although not with genetic causes of the disease as a target. ...
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'Transsexuality gene' makes women feel like men

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