Neuroscience INSIGHTS


Rodent Alzheimer's Disease Model Supports New Therapies

In late 2016 Biogen reported exciting results for aducanumab, their Phase 1 monoclonal antibody therapy for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Patients who received aducanumab showed significant and dose-dependent reduction of brain Amyloid-β (Aβ) and slowing of disease progression. Pre-clinical studies in the APPSWE/Tg2576 mouse model of AD provided the mechanistic clues, dosing insights, and efficacy data that informed the design of Biogen's successful aducanumab Phase I trial. Now,...

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Producing Neurological Symptoms in Mouse Model of Zika Virus

Severity of 2015 Outbreak Fuels Research Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus transmitted primarily through mosquito bites. It was first discovered in 1947, and outbreaks described from the 1960s through 1980s were associated with mild illness in affected humans. A Brazilian outbreak in 2015, however, has been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurological disorders in infected humans, along with fetal abnormalities such as stillbirth and microcephaly....

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CNV Psychiatric Disease Models Q&A

Dr. Michael Didriksen, whose work with Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals is bridging preclinical and clinical schizophrenia and psychosis science, presented a webinar focused on the application of three novel psychiatric disease models, all carrying high-risk genetic copy number variations (CNVs). His presentation on the research applications of mice carrying high-risk CNVs generated substantial interest from the neuropsychiatric community. Here are some of the most popular questions we received from...

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Generating EAE Mouse Models of Multiple Sclerosis

Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a widely-accepted model of demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). How can you most efficiently generate EAE mouse models of multiple sclerosis and which mouse strains work best for this application? Although the exact details are not understood, the immune system is involved in MS pathogenesis. Like MS, EAE is characterized by infiltration of immune cells into the central nervous system...

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Investigating Tau Proteins in Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Models

Despite tau proteins having essential roles in neurodegeneration and amyloid-mediated neurotoxicity, Alzheimer's disease (AD) therapeutic development has largely focused on amyloid-beta. Recent investigations, in humans and rodent Alzheimer's Disease models, suggest specific tau species might be major pathological contributors to AD progression and, as such, an even better target than amyloid-beta for effective AD therapies. Tau Proteins in Alzheimer's Disease Monomeric tau proteins are abundant in neurons,...

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Society for Neuroscience 2016 Abstracts - By the Numbers

In a little less than a month, 30,000 scientists will gather in San Diego for Society for Neuroscience 2016 Annual Meeting. Over 15,000 abstracts have been accepted for presentations in symposia, mini-symposia, and posters. There will be more than 100 satellite events being held in conjunction with the annual meeting with at least 600 exhibitors showcasing new tools and technologies. The volume of information and insight on...

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Copy Number Variation, Microdeletion, and Disease

Copy number variations (CNVs) are duplications and deletions to large (~5kb-5mb) genomic regions found in varying degrees within the human population. These duplications and deletions significantly contribute to human genetic diversity and can dramatically affect gene-dosage. Recently, pathologic and highly-penetrant CNVs have been identified in patients with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. The microdeletion at chromosome location 15q13.3 is one example. This CNV can result in a range...

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Alzheimer's Treatment Decreases Plaques, Improves Cognition

Researchers at Biogen published a pivotal Phase 1b clinical study of an Alzheimer's treatment showing not only a decrease in plaques when the monoclonal antibody aducanumab is administered, but also some cognitive improvement in humans. From the paper: "Antibody-based immunotherapy against Αβ to trigger its clearance or mitigate its neurotoxicity has so far been unsuccessful. Here we report the generation of aducanumab, a human monoclonal antibody that...

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Cancer Drug Suggests Promising Alzheimer's Treatment

In a 2015 report, a team of scientist from the Weizmann Institute of Science provided compelling evidence that boosting the immune response in the brain (as opposed to suppressing it) might be a promising avenue for Alzheimer's research. In an extension of its initial findings, the team found that inhibiting an immune-checkpoint pathway which is targeted in the treatment of certain forms of cancer dramatically reduces Alzheimer's...

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Mouse Model Helps Accelerate Development of New Alzheimer's Therapies

The majority of the drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of cognitive symptoms in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients are cholinesterase inhibitors and include drugs such as donepezil, galantamine, and rivastagimine. However, the tolerated doses of cholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, produce only partial improvement in memory and can have severe GI side effects. Since these medications have to be taken for prolonged durations, the limited efficacy...

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