Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dr. Sandra Camelo-Piragua's upcoming atlas will fill a needed niche in the neuropathology literature

I recently received an email from the illustrious neuropathologis at the University of Michigan, Sandra Camelo-Piragua, MD: "I just wanted to let you know about a book I have been working on, in conjunction with two neuropathy colleagues from England, Drs. Kathreena Kurian and Tim Moss. The book is coming out in September of this year.  Atlas of Gross Neuropathology: A Practical Approach has a large collection of gross images covering a wide range of adult and pediatric CNS-related diseases. The aim of this book is to give a visual reference and guide for a variety of gross neuropathologic entities during post-mortem examination. It is geared towards pathologist, neurologists, radiologist, neurosurgeons and related specialties that need to study and examine gross details of neuropathologic entities. We hope this text book becomes a reference book for many."

I'm very much looking forward to purchasing this book when it comes out this fall!
Dr. Sandra Camelo-Piragua
Dr. Kathreena Kurian
Dr. Tim Moss

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dr. Mike Lawlor is recognized for making critical strides in treatment of myotubular myopathy

X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) is a severe and fatal congenital myopathy for which there is currently no treatment.  As part of an international group of scientists studying treatments for this disease, Dr. Mike Lawlor (the neuropathologist serving Children's Hospital of Wisconsin) was recently featured on Milwaukee's WTMJ 10 o'clock news for his part in the work.  The piece is quite touching. Mike conveys a sense of urgency in finding a cure for this disease because he has gotten to
know several children stricken with XLMTM, and even has pictures of many of the little tikes up on his office wall.  Mike has presented his work on XLMTM at the past several AANP meetings, including trials using myostatin inhibition, targeted enzyme replacement therapy, and gene therapy on animal models of this disease.  The work in this story relates to the gene therapy trial that was recently published in Science Translational Medicine (depicted on the left), for which Mike was the study pathologist. A photomicrograph from the article was even featured on the front page of that prestigious journal.  He is continuing to work on these treatment options in preparation for translation to human clinical trials that will occur over the next few years. Congratulations to Dr. Mike Lawlor for splendidly representing neuropathologists in both the lay media and academic press.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nobel Laureate Prusiner Tells His Story

Just published by Yale University Press: Stanley Prusiner's new book, Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions - A New Biological Principle of Disease, is now available for purchase. Although I am not personally a big fan of Dr. Oliver Sacks's work, his blurb on Prusiner's book is worth reading: “Stanley Prusiner is a brilliant scientist whose boldness and tenacity enabled him, against all odds and despite near-universal skepticism, to discover and prove the importance of a new class of disease-producing agents—prions—a discovery as fundamental as that of bacteria and viruses. Prions, by subverting the brain’s own proteins, may play a crucial role in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases—and perhaps afford a clue to their prevention. Madness and Memory is the story of one of the most important discoveries in recent medical history, and it is also a vivid and compelling portrait of a life in science." Special thanks to Dr. Mark Cohen for alerting me to the publication of this new account of a seminal discovery in biological science.
The bookish Dr. Mark Cohen

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Abstracts now being accepted for the XVIII International Congress of Neuropathology


The program for the next International Congress of Neuropathology is now ready and abstract submission is open. The meeting this year will be held in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As this meeting only takes place once every four years, it's a valuable opportunity for the world's neuropathology experts to convene. 
The preliminary program looks strong. One example: the illustrious Dr. Beatriz Lopes will discuss pitfalls in diagnosing histoplasmacytic-rich CNS lesions.See you in Rio!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Vulnerability of Glioblastoma Cells to Catastrophic Vacuolization and Death Induced by a Small Molecule

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have introduced what could possibly be a revolution in article in Cell, researchers found that molecules known as vacquinols "reliably and selectively compromised" neoplastic cell viability. Vacquinols stimulates cell death by membrane ruffling, vacuolization, and -- ultimately -- cytoplasmic membrane rupture. Although in vivo testing has been restricted to mice thus far, this paper may prove to be the beginning of a new avenue of research into the selective killing glioblastoma cells in patients.
glioblasoma treatment. In a recent

Friday, March 7, 2014

Best Post of November 2013: Nanotechnology joins with cancer genomics in silencing glioblastoma oncogene

The next in our "Best of the Month" series is from November 1, 1013:

Gold nanoparticles (yellow) with small interfering RNAs (green) knock down an oncogene in glioblastoma.
In a study of mice released this week in Science Nanomedicine, researchers were able to reduce glioblastoma size three- to four-fold by switching off the oncogene Bcl2Like12 by means of nanotechnology-assisted delivery of small interfering RNAs. Normal (linear) nucleic acids cannot get into cells, but these spherical nucleic acids can. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) surrounds a gold nanoparticle like a shell; the nucleic acids are highly oriented, densely packed and form a tiny sphere. (The gold nanoparticle core is only 13 nanometers in diameter.) The RNA’s sequence is programmed to silence the disease-causing gene.

“This is a beautiful marriage of a new technology with the genes of a terrible disease,” said Chad A. Mirkin, a nanomedicine expert and a senior co-author of the study. “Using highly adaptable spherical nucleic acids, we specifically targeted a gene associated with GBM and turned it off in vivo. This proof-of-concept further establishes a broad platform for treating a wide range of diseases, from lung and colon cancers to rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.”

Dr. Alexander H. Stegh discovered the Bcl2Like12 oncogene in 2007.  "The beauty of the gene we silenced in this study is that it plays many different roles in therapy resistance,." says Stegh. "Taking the gene out of the picture should allow conventional therapies to be more effective.”

Again, thanks to loyal reader and friend, Dr. Doug Shevlin (pictured above on far left with alt country singer Eef Barzelay on far right), for alerting me to this new development in the field of nanotechnogenomics.