Paul R. Sanberg, DSc, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Aging and Brain Repair at USF Health, wrote the commentary “Neural Stem Cells for Parkinson’s Disease: To Protect and Repair” published July 9 in the “Early Edition” online version of journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The expert commentary (see http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0704704104v1) is a companion piece to the study conducted by Gene Redmond and colleagues at Yale and Harvard Universities and the Burnham Institute.
That NIH-funded study showed that only a small number of stem cells turned into dopamine-producing cells – not enough to improve the primates’ function by replacing missing neurons. Instead, some stem cells turned into astrocytes, a supportive brain cell that produces neuron-nourishing chemicals. The researchers also identified in the brains of the primate recipients a significant amount of dopamine-producing neurons that were not derived from stem cells. The results suggest that stem cells may actually trigger the brain’s own self-repair mechanisms by pumping out molecules that boost nerve survival and blood vessel development and decrease neural degeneration.
“We at the Center for Aging and Brain Repair at USF Health have been arguing, for some time now, that stem cells are important for brain repair because they provide growth factors and because they send signals to the brain to help it repair itself,” Dr. Sanberg said. “This study in primates showed the same effects — that the stem cells are there to act as facilators of repair versus the original hypothesis that stem cells are transplanted to merely replace an injured cell.”
Dr. Sanberg said the study has relevance to all audiences. “This was one of the first studies to look at stem cells in primates with Parkinson’s disease. It’s the first step in translating that research,” he said. “We hear about new sources of stem cells monthly, but how we take those cells and treat disease is going to be a significant amount of translational work. This is one of the first studies that starts that process — looking at primates before going into people with Parkinson’s disease.”
While the transplanted cells appeared not to form tumors following transplant, Dr. Sanberg said the translational research in primates raises questions that need to be addressed before moving to human trials, including determining the most effective cell dosing and brain sites to target. “Pending further preclinical studies,” he writes in the commentary, “the results so far from the current study are supportive for developing a safe and effective stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease.”
Dr. Sanberg’s commentary and the study it highlights will also be published in the magazine edition of PNAS, a prestigious publication with a global audience. PNAS has been a resource for multidisciplinary research since 1914. Its online edition, where Dr. Sanberg’s commentary appears this week, receives nearly 6 million e-visitor “hits” per month. Content includes research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy. Coverage in PNAS spans the biological, physical, and social sciences.
Dr. Sanberg also commented on the PNAS study of neural stem cells in Parkinson’s primates for an article appearing June 11 in Nature.com.
- USF Health -
USF Health is a partnership of the University of South Florida’s colleges of medicine, nursing, and public health; the schools of biomedical sciences and physical therapy & rehabilitation sciences; and the USF Physicians Group. It is a partnership dedicated to the promise of creating a new model of health and health care. One of the nation’s top 63 public research universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, USF received more than $310 million in research contracts and grants last year.
Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences