The following article has been kindly provided by Hasan Çiçek

CHICAGO, Jan. 22, 2009 (Reuters) — Researchers believe they have found a potential way to regenerate nerves by stimulating a gene and said on Thursday they hope their work in worms may some day help people with spinal cord injuries.

The gene is part of a network, or pathway, of four genes that appear to be essential for nerve repair, they reported in the journal Science. "We found a pathway that not only regenerates nerves in the worm, but also exists in humans, and we think it serves the same purpose," Michael Bastiani of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who led the study, said in a statement. Bastiani said the gene could serve as a target for a future drug that could "vastly improve the ability of a neuron to regenerate after injury." In humans, nerve fibers in the arms and legs can regenerate, but in the brain and spinal cord, they do not. Many teams are working to understand why. Bastiani's team looked to nematode worms for clues. Using an advanced research technique called RNA interference, the team systematically blocked the action of 5,000 worm genes to isolate those important for nerve repair. They found a gene called dlk-1 was essential to the process at every stage of the worm's life. When they used genetic engineering to block this gene network, the worms were unable to repair nerve damage. But when they stimulated the gene -- making it more active than normal -- worms with damaged nerves recovered much more quickly. Curiously, this network of genes is not used by the nervous system during normal development in the embryo, but it is essential for nerve repair after birth. "Most of us believed that virtually everything we found in regeneration also would be involved in development," Bastiani said. Bastiani and colleagues noted that to be effective, the dlk-1 gene must be stimulated soon after injury to make a protein that stimulates repair, suggesting there might be "a time window in which you have to activate this pathway." Many teams have been working on finding ways to block proteins that inhibit nerve repair in adults. Last year, a team at Children's Hospital Boston reported in the journal Science they were able to stimulate nerve regeneration in mice with damaged optic nerves by turning off proteins that keep adult nerve cells from growing. A separate team from the biotechnology firm Genentech Inc was able to stimulate nerve regeneration by blocking chemical signals that create a hostile environment for nerve repair.


(Editing by Maggie Fox; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


 Posted 2009/01/22 at 3:37 pm EST 


The legacy of Marie Schlau: literature to help cure Friedreich's Ataxia

If you feel like reading an unputdownable novel while collaborating with a just and solidary cause, "The Legacy of Marie Schlau" is your book! 100% of all funds raised will be dedicated to medical research to find a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia, a neurodegenerative disease that affects mostly young people, shortening their life expectancy and confining them to a wheelchair.

The life of Marie Schlau, a German Jewish girl born in 1833 hides great unsolved mysteries: accidents, disappearances, enigmas, unknown diagnoses, disturbing murders, love, tenderness, greed, lies, death ... alternatively a different story unfolds every time and takes us closer to the present. Thus, there are two parallel stories unravelling, each in a different age and place, which surprisingly converge in a revelatory chapter.

Paperback and Kindle versions for "The legacy of Marie Schlau" available for sale at Amazon now!


Research projects currently being financed by BabelFAmily

Currently, BabelFAmily is financing two promising research projects aimed at finding a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. Whenever you make a donation to us or purchase a copy of "The legacy of Marie Schlau", this is where all funds raised will be devoted to:

1) Gene Therapy for Friedreich's Ataxia research project:

The project is the result of an initiative of Spanish people affected by this rare disease who are grouped in GENEFA in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Ataxias and the BabelFAmily. The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), one of the main patients’ associations in the United States now joins the endeavour.

2) Frataxin delivery research project:
The associations of patients and families Babel Family and the Asociación Granadina de la Ataxia de Friedreich (ASOGAF) channel 80,000 euros of their donations (50% from each organisation) into a new 18-month project at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). The project specifically aims to complete a step necessary in order to move towards a future frataxin replacement therapy for the brain, where the reduction of this protein causes the most damage in patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

The study is headed by Ernest Giralt, head of the Peptides and Proteins Lab, who has many years of experience and is a recognised expert in peptide chemistry and new systems of through which to delivery drugs to the brain, such as peptide shuttles—molecules that have the capacity to carry the drug across the barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. Since the lab started its relation with these patients’ associations in 2013*, it has been developing another two projects into Friedrich’s Ataxia.



Go to top