NASA Ames Research Center scientist and neurosurgeon Russell J. Andrews presented the advances that he and his colleagues have made on developing a deep brain stimulation device equipped with carbon nanofiber pads at the International Neuromodulation Society 12th World Congress on June 8."People are sticking electrodes all over the place in the brain for everything from obesity to depression to Tourette's without nearly as successful results," Andrews told Tech Times. "It's kind of sad when people have a hammer and they start thinking that every disease is a nail just because Parkinson's was kind of a nail and this hammer worked pretty well." And now, nanotechnology can help improve DBS. "It's a pretty simple physical concept - when you get down to measuring things like molecules, if your detector is closer to the size of what you're measuring, the precision and sensitivity are much greater," Andrews explains. "It's really a matter of reducing the size to get down to the biological level." "We'd like to be able to correct problems in the brain, not just relieve the symptoms," he says. Andrews expects their to be clinical trials within five years.
A team of researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine have discovered a way to stop brain tumor regeneration. The key to stopping tumor regeneration lies in the blocking and intervening in the works of brain tumor stem cells, which are the cause of regeneration. It seems that the stem cells can be prevented from making the SOX2 protein with the help of another protein, CDC20. Conducting an experiment on mice the scientists observed the brain tumor regeneration was stopped by eliminating CDC20. This led to the incapacity of the tumor stem cells to produce SOX2 and so they no longer had the power to form tumors.
According to Dr. Kim the rate of growth in several tumors which lacked CDC20 dropped 95% when compared with tumors which had a normal level of CDC20. Now the researchers will concentrate on finding a way to block the CDC20 protein. One possible way to do this is through RNA (ribonucleic acid) interference, a method which is already used in treating some types of cancers and other illnesses.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve and UT Southwestern Medical Center this week announced that they have taken very tangible steps at making this concept a reality."We are very excited," said Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, the Ingalls Professor of Cancer Genetics at the university's School of Medicine and a medical oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center. "We have developed a drug that acts like a vitamin for tissue stem cells, stimulating their ability to repair tissues more quickly. The drug heals damage in multiple tissues, which suggests to us that it may have applications in treating many diseases." "These are thrilling times for us as researchers, and it is also an exciting time for Case Western Reserve," Markowitz said. "In Cleveland, there has been a major effort in the last two to three years to figure out how all our institutions can together work to develop drugs. This discovery is really something we should celebrate. It helps put us on the map as a place where new drugs get invented."
A patient may undergo intense chemoradiation and surgery, only to have the tumor grow up within a short period of time. We haven't found a way to stop the tumors from recapitulating. The culprit of this regeneration of tumor bulk is a group of cells with exquisite traits: cancer stem cells. Researchers have now aimed at destroying tumors by targeting cancer stem cells within the tumor via nanoparticle killing machines. The researchers packaged the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin into nanoparticles coated with chitosan, a natural polysaccharide that can specifically target CSCs.
In the largest study conducted on the neurogenetics of oligodendrogliomas, scientists have discovered that a mutation in the gene TCF12 may very well lead to the development of this cancer. Professor Richard Houlston, Professor of Molecular and Population Genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:"Our in-depth study has set out many of the genetic defects that cause this rare but highly aggressive form of brain cancer -- including identifying a gene mutation that appears in particularly fast-growing forms.
"Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are difficult to remove by surgery and don't respond well to other forms of treatment. We hope this new information might be used to discover new targeted therapies, offering patients a better chance at survival from this aggressive cancer."
A group of researchers in Vienna have developed a novel method by which the nervous system may feel input directly from a prosthetic leg. See the video discussing this breakthrough and how it is helping patients deal with phantom limb pain.
Houston-based Microtransponder is using an implanted vagus-nerve simulator to turbocharge one of the brain’s most fundamental functions: learning. “What we’re doing with our VNS pairing therapy is trying to reorganize the brain,” says the company’s R&D director, Navzer Engineer.
See IEEE for a detailed account of this innovation here.
Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret from the IRCM and Dr. Laurent Legault from the Montreal Children's Hospital, conducted the first pediatric outpatient study to compare three alternative treatments for type 1 diabetes. "The dual-hormone artificial pancreas has the potential to reduce hypoglycemia more than the other strategies, but the relative benefits provided by glucagon had not yet been assessed in outpatient settings," says Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret, endocrinologist and clinical researcher at the IRCM. "Demonstrating the effectiveness of the artificial pancreas among children in an uncontrolled environment is an important step in making this technology available to the general public in the near future." "During our study, we also found that no participant using the dual-hormone system experienced a nocturnal hypoglycaemia event requiring treatment," explains Ahmad Haidar, PhD. "This is significant when considering that hypoglycaemic events occurred on 16 per cent of nights with conventional pump therapy, and 4 per cent of nights with the single-hormone artificial pancreas."