Navigation Links
New Class of Stem Cell-Like Cells Discovered in Spinal Cord Offers Possibilities for Spinal Cord Repair
Date:9/15/2011

SEATTLE, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Allen Institute for Brain Science announced today the discovery of a new class of cells in the spinal cord that act like neural stem cells, offering a fresh avenue in the search for therapies to treat spinal cord injury and disease. The published collaborative study, authored by scientists from the University of British Columbia, the Allen Institute for Brain Science and The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University and titled "Adult Spinal Cord Radial Glia Display a Unique Progenitor Phenotype," appears in the open access journal PLoS One.

The research team utilized the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, a finely detailed genome-wide map of gene expression throughout the mouse spinal cord, to compare the genes expressed, or turned on, in adult spinal cord radial glia with those found in other neural stem cells, revealing a signature set of 122 genes that indicate the likeness of these cells to classic neural stem cells.

The nervous system has historically been thought to be incapable of repairing itself, as the cells used to create it are exhausted during development. With the identification of these new stem cell-like radial glial cells, it may be possible to activate a certain set of genes in order to encourage those cells to reconstruct a damaged network in the adult spinal cord.

"By using the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, we were able to discover a brand new cell type that has previously been overlooked and that could be an important player in all manner of spinal cord injury and disease, including multiple sclerosis and ALS," said Jane Roskams, Ph.D., neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia and senior author of the study.

From disabled veterans to those afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) or Spinal Muscular Atrophy, spinal cord related diseases and disorders affect people of all ages including nearly one-quarter of a million Americans who have suffered from a spinal cord injury; as many as 30,000 Americans who suffer from ALS at any given time; and approximately 2.5 million people worldwide who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

"This is a tremendous example of how our public atlas resources can lead to critical discoveries that offer promising avenues for developing much needed new clinical therapies," said Allan Jones, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute.

Dr. Roskams, who led the collaborative research team, has said that it is possible this pool of cells was overlooked because of its unusual location, and because scientists have been working with limited information. With the availability of the public, online Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, the information accessible to researchers has been vastly increased.

In the search for neural stem cells, scientists have been using a few known genes as clues to find candidates deep in the middle of the spinal cord. While some neural stem cells have been discovered there, the newly identified class of spinal cord radial glia run along the edge of the spinal cord, an incredibly convenient location for activating them with minimal secondary damage to help the spinal cord repair during disease or after injury.

"When we first saw known neural stem cell genes appearing in these cells on the edge of the cord, I realized we not only had a brand new cell, but had the capacity to reveal a new gene set that may also guide us to hidden neural stem cells in atypical locations in the brain. I did not expect so many of them to link to human diseases," Dr. Roskams said.

Identifying these cells and the genes relevant to activate them opens fresh new pathways to explore effective therapies to treat spinal cord injury and several types of neurodegenerative disease.

The Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, part of the suite of Allen Brain Atlas resources, is freely available online at www.brain-map.org.

The Allen Spinal Cord Atlas was made possible by a unique funding consortium comprising public and private entities including The ALS Association, PVA Research Foundation, Wyeth Research, PEMCO Insurance, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, International Spinal Research Trust and philanthropist and Institute founder Paul G. Allen, as well as numerous anonymous donors.

Citation

Petit, A. et al. (2011) Adult Spinal Cord Radial Glia Display a Unique Progenitor Phenotype. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24538. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024538

About the Allen Institute for Brain Science

The Allen Institute for Brain Science (www.alleninstitute.org) is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to accelerating understanding of the human brain by fueling discovery for the broader scientific community. Through a product-focused approach, the Allen Institute generates innovative public resources used by researchers and organizations around the globe. Additionally, the Institute drives technological and analytical advances, thereby creating new knowledge and providing new ways to address questions about the brain in health and disease. Started with $100 million in seed money from philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Institute is supported by a diversity of public and private funds. The Allen Institute's data and tools are publicly available online at www.brain-map.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Allen Institute for Brain Science
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related biology technology :

1. Reliant Technologies Announces Canadian Launch of Fraxel re:pair(R) Laser: A New Class of Treatment Therapy for CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing
2. Abeome Forms First Class Scientific Advisory Board
3. Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic Raises More Than $1.1 Million for Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
4. Shareholder Class Action Filed Against Elan Corporation, plc by the Law Firm of Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check, LLP
5. Laboratory Customers Name bioMerieux Top Of Class for Microbiology
6. Northwest Biotherapeutics Settles Class Action Complaint, and SEC Investigation Closed Without Action
7. ACTE Releases Paper Highlighting Policy Trend to Support Recognition of Academic Credit for CTE Classes
8. UKs Institute of Cancer Research and Silicon Graphics Establish Long-Term Alliance to Design and Outfit World-Class Network Biology Lab
9. NexBio Completes Clinical Advisory Board for the Advanced Development of DAS181 (Fludase(R)*), a First-In-Class Medicine for Influenza
10. CellGard ES NU-480 Class II Biological Safety Cabinet Now Available
11. Enerkem Announces World-Class Advanced Energy Research Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of ... from cancer patients.  The funding will be used ... with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a ... be employed to support the design of a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the ... such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that ... the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. ... microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/16/2016)... --  EyeLock LLC , a market leader of iris-based ... IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, Texas ... embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris authentication ... with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most proven ... platform uses video technology to deliver a fast and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 Infosys ... (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a global ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, fast ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling and ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... UAE, April 20, 2016 The ... as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all ... fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration authorization ... access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access ... into the building installations offer considerable freedom of design ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):