World’s first: Drug guides stem cells to desired location, improving their ability to heal

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have created a drug that can lure stem cells to damaged tissue and improve treatment efficacy—a scientific first and major advance for the field of regenerative medicine. The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could improve current stem cell therapies designed to treat such neurological disorders as spinal cord injury, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders; and expand their use to new conditions, such as heart disease or arthritis.

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New Grant Seeks to Fill Knowledge Gaps Regarding Spina Bifida

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine have been awarded a five-year, $8.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the causes of spina bifida, the most common structural defect of the central nervous system.

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New Study on Development of Parkinson’s Disease is ‘On the Nose’

Scientists suggest that the initial impact of environmental toxins inhaled through the nose may induce inflammation in the brain, triggering the production of Lewy bodies that can then be spread to other brain regions. However, the relationship linking olfactory dysfunction and Parkinson’s disease development remains unclear. New findings from a study add weight to this theory and identify a critical signaling molecule that may be key to the domino effect kicked off by nasal inflammation.

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Study Reveals New Way to Treat Stroke Using an Already FDA-Approved Drug

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) is currently used to treat neutropenia due to chemotherapy and has been successfully used for patients who require bone marrow transplants. The study is the first to report on the neuroprotective effect of GCSF in vivo and showed that it improved neurological deficits that occur in the first few days following cerebral ischemia. GCSF improved long-term behavioral outcomes while also stimulating a neural progenitor recovery response in a mouse model.

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Better Biosensor Technology Created for Stem Cells

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurological disorders. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) involved in turning such cells into brain cells (neurons), according to a study in the journal Nano Letters.

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Machine Learning Leads to Novel Way to Track Tremor Severity in Parkinson’s Patients

Physical exams only provide a snapshot of a Parkinson’s patient’s daily tremor experience. Scientists have developed algorithms that, combined with wearable sensors, can continuously monitor patients and estimate total Parkinsonian tremor as they perform a variety of free body movements in their natural settings. This new method holds great potential for providing a full spectrum of patients’ tremors and medication response, providing clinicians with key information to effectively manage and treat their patients with this disorder.

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