Open Access Abstracts for the 16th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair

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Abstract:

A number of emerging tools & technologies appear poised to transform regenerative medicine. Given that ASNTR has always been at the forefront of neural repair, starting with its early focus on transplantation and now broadening its scope to embrace all means of restoring function to the dysfunctional or maldeveloped CNS, we have convened a symposium to expose attendees to some of the most prominent of these cutting-edge approaches. Speakers will address:

1: Novel in vivo imaging techniques. Following transplantation of cells, it is incumbent upon us to be able to follow their migratory paths, track their differentiation fate, anticipate adverse outcomes, monitor success, and know when to re-dose. MRI is presently in clinical practice, yet its resolution to the cellular level and its ability to signal changes in gene expression is only recently achieving success. Bioluminescence has been a great research tool, yet making some of its capabilities clinically applicable is also only recently being realized.

2: Induced pluripotent somatic cells—making and using them. The ability to push mature cells, including fibroblasts, back in “developmental time” by reprogramming its nucleus toward pluripotence has captured our imagination. Such cells are not only easy to prepare, but they provide potential graft material that is immunocompatible with a prospective recipient. Furthermore, because they can be obtained from patients with diseases for which no good animal models exist, they can be used for identifying novel drug targets, understanding pathophysiologic mechanisms, pinpointing new diagnostic/prognostic markers, and facilitating drug discovery. Questions remain as to how best to prepare these cells safely and efficiently, what the best starting cell should be, and how they should actually be used clinically.

3: MicroRNA & SiRNA biology and their use in understanding and treating neurodegenerative diseases. The recognition that there are long stretches of noncoding RNAs that may influence ultimate gene expression patterns by silencing genes has changed the way we view development and disease. The ability to harness this biology for intentionally suppressing the expression of certain genes has emerged as an important research tool and potential therapeutic.

4: High-throughput screening of small molecule modifiers of degenerative and developmental events. Some of the most tractable uses stem cells will be not from transplanting them but rather from using them as bioassays for drug discovery, particularly if obtained from actual patients. The ability to engineer cells to express fluorescent markers under the control of particular promoters under various conditions has allowed these cells to serve as biosensors. Automated high-speed imaging of these cells in microplates into which robots serially place thousands of small molecules has enabled the rapid identification of drug-like molecules that may be used directly or for identifying drugable targets and mechanisms. This same strategy can be used to identify the pathways (and molecules) necessary to direct an undifferentiated cell iteratively to its desired phenotype (which might then be used for grafting).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368909788341315

Affiliations: 1: , La Jolla, CA, 2: , Baltimore, MD, 3: , Hickory Hills, IL, 4: , Chicago, IL, 5: , Menlo Park, CA, 6: , Surrey,

Publication date: February 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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