Thursday, July 2, 2009

Prize4Life News Digest - 07/02

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About ALS & prize4life


Stem Cell Banks to Promote ALS Research
Researchers at iZumi Bio are capitalizing on the medical promise of stem cells to promote drug development research. Scientists as iZumi are using the cells of patients with various illnesses (including ALS) to derive pluripotent stem cells, which can give rise to virtually any cell type. These cells can launch laboratory models of disease, and the hope is that the cells will contain the genetics and other factors underlying the disease. The company plans to develop a bank of induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with various diseases and use the cells to screen candidates for drug development.

Brain-Computer Interfaces Offer Exciting Potential for Paralysis Patients
40 people paralyzed by disease or accident have entered into an early trial of brain-computer interfaces at MGH and the Wadsworth Center in New York. BrainGate2 enables patients to move robotic body parts with only their thoughts. By connecting the motor cortex to a computer, the brain’s neural signals can be detected and translated into a code readable by a robot. The device can also be used to mentally type. In addition, there is hope that this technology will enable a mind-to-spoken word device to enable ALS patients to verbally communicate, even if on a ventilator.




Industry news


IPLEX Fails in Phase II Trial for Treating Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy
The pharma world is abuzz with news about IPLEX’s phase II trial failure. The drug failed to achieve statistically significant advances in treating muscular function failure, although it did show some promise for addressing insulin resistance in MMD patients. This is a major blow to the case for IPLEX as a successful neurodegenerative disease treatment option.

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