NOTE ALL TIMES ARE HAWAII (HT). ALL TIPS HERE ARE EMBARGOED FOR 7 A.M. HT/NOON ET, WEDNESDAY, FEB. 6, 2013. For more information Feb. 6-8, call the ASA News Media Staff Office at the Hawaii Convention Center: (808) 792-6506. Before or after these dates, call the Communications Office in Dallas at (214) 706-1173. For public inquiries, call (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721).
Light stimulation of motor-control neurons speeds stroke recovery in mice
Light-activated gene therapy sped up stroke recovery in mice, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.
In optogenetics, light-sensitive proteins are introduced into cells, making it possible to control them using light. Stimulating the brain using electrical or magnetic devices is already known to enhance recovery, but the optogenetic approach helps scientists better understand the process because it can be targeted to a specific type of cell.
Five days after stroke, mice received light stimulations for 10 days in the brain area controlling movement. Compared with non-stimulated mice, those receiving light stimulation regained weight faster, had improved blood flow within their brains and performed better in sensory/motor behavioral tests.
Note: Actual presentation is 4:35 p.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
Skin may someday provide working nerve cells to stroke patients
Ordinary human skin cells were converted in the laboratory into cells that resembled human nerve cells, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.
This makes skin cells a potential source for cell transplantation therapy for stroke and other neurological diseases in the future, researchers said.
Researchers converted skin cells into human-induced neuronal cells by adding five neuron-specific transcription factors (proteins that attach to DNA and control which genetic messages will be expressed). Three weeks later, the cells looked like nerve cells under the microscope and produced four different proteins that are specific to nerve cells.
When the created cells were transplanted into developing fetal mouse brains, they migrated into various brain regions and made functional connections with other nerve cells.
Note: Actual presentation is 2:42 p.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
Stem cells from placenta may aid stroke recovery
Stem cells from placentas could help patients recover after stroke and may have advantages over other stem cell sources, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.
Stem cells derived from placenta — human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) — were injected into mice either one or 72 hours after a laboratory-simulated, clot-induced stroke. Compared with placebo injections, mice with hAEC injected early had less cell death and better movement and neurological function after 72 hours. Mice treated at 72 hours had improved survival and function after 14 days than those receiving placebo injections.
The findings suggest that hAECs could potentially aid recovery after ischemic stroke.
Note: Actual presentation is 8:58 a.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
Delivering chemotherapy into artery treats severe eye tumors
Children with advanced eye cancer, known as retinoblastoma, can be successfully treated by injecting chemotherapy into the ophthalmic artery branch of the internal carotid artery, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.
In 2010-12, 151 intra-arterial chemotherapy procedures were performed to treat advanced and extensive retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. A small catheter was threaded into the ophthalmic artery, which branches off one of the large arteries of the brain, and pulses of chemotherapy drugs were delivered for 30 minutes.
In two cases, technical complications occurred with no neurological damage. Eighty-eight percent of tumors responded to the chemotherapy, and 67 percent of treated eyes were saved. No patients died or experienced a spread of their cancer or second tumors.
Note: Actual presentation is 8:58 a.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
Injections of a novel form of a diabetes drug may prevent harmful brain swelling
A novel, intravenous formulation of the diabetes drug glyburide, called RP-1127, may prevent deadly brain swelling in patients with a devastating type of stroke, according to a pilot study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013.
In malignant infarction, fluid builds up in the brain (brain edema/swelling) after a clot blocks one of the large arteries of the brain causing infarction of the brain or stroke. The fluid causes extreme swelling and brain tissue shifts which is often lethal. The only proven treatment is surgery to open the skull and relieve the swelling.
In the study, 10 patients at risk for malignant infarction because of a severe ischemic stroke were given RP-1127 as an injection, followed by continuous infusion for 72 hours, regardless of whether they had also received the clot-busting drug tPA.
While patients with similar stroke-caused brain lesions have an 88 percent incidence of malignant edema, only 20 percent of those receiving RP-1127 developed the condition. Thirty days later, only one of 10 RP-1127 recipients died with reported mortality rates anywhere from 40-80 percent in this population. None of the patients were significantly disabled compared with 76.2 percent (after a year) of control patients involved in other trials. No serious side effects were attributed to the drug, and the researchers conclude that a phase II trial is feasible to examine the safety and value of this nonsurgical approach.
Note: Actual presentation is 10:15 a.m. HT, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.
Dr. Sheth was recognized for this work with the Siekert Award, which is named for the founding chair of the International Stroke Conference Robert G. Siekert and is presented to an outstanding young scientist.
Follow news from the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013 via Twitter @HeartNews; #ISC13.
Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Stroke Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
Images related to these tips are on the right column of this link.