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Author: Alinda Fernandes (6)


Jun
2017

Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) promote axonal regeneration and improve locomotor function when transplanted into the injured spinal cord. A recent clinical trial demonstrated improved motor function in domestic dogs with spinal injury following autologous OEC transplantation. Their utility in canines offers promise for human translation, as dogs are comparable to humans in terms of clinical management and genetic/environmental variation.

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Dec
2017

The fundamental role of the brain-specific myelin transcription factor 1-like (MYT1L) gene in cases of intellectual disability and in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders is increasingly recognized. Yet, its function remains under-investigated. Here, we identify a network of helix-loop-helix (HLH) transcriptional regulators controlled by MYT1L, as indicated by our analyses in human neural stem cells and in the human brain.

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Dec
1969

Both neurotrophin-based therapy and neural stem cell (NSC)-based strategies have progressed to clinical trials for treatment of neurological diseases and injuries. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in particular can confer neuroprotective and neuro-regenerative effects in preclinical studies, complementing the cell replacement benefits of NSCs. Therefore, combining both approaches by genetically-engineering NSCs to express BDNF is an attractive approach to achieve combinatorial therapy for complex neural injuries.

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Dec
1969

Genetically engineered neural stem cell (NSC) transplant populations offer key benefits in regenerative neurology, for release of therapeutic biomolecules in ex vivo gene therapy. NSCs are 'hard-to-transfect' but amenable to 'magnetofection'. Despite the high clinical potential of this approach, the low and transient transfection associated with the large size of therapeutic DNA constructs is a critical barrier to translation.

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Feb
2016

Surface engineering to control cell behavior is of high interest across the chemical engineering, drug delivery and biomaterial communities. Defined chemical strategies are necessary to tailor nanoscale protein interactions/adsorption, enabling control of cell behaviors for development of novel therapeutic strategies. Nanoparticle-based therapies benefit from such strategies but particle targeting to sites of neurological injury remains challenging due to circulatory immune clearance.

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Apr
2012

The importance of the dopaminergic system for proper brain activity is demonstrated by findings that alterations in this system lead to severe disabilities, including motor impairment observed in various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Although the roles of specific dopamine receptors in behaviour have been extensively investigated using pharmacological agents and knockout mice, non-specificity of ligands and compensatory molecular adaptations in mutated animals restrict the interpretation of the results. To overcome these limitations and further explore the role of the dopamine D2 and D3 receptors (D2R and D3R) in rats, we used lentivirus-mediated gene knockdown and overexpression to specifically manipulate expression levels of these genes in the rat nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a brain area important for spontaneous and induced locomotor responses.

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