Sunday, December 02, 2007

Peripheral Nerve Issues

There has been a Significant Discovery In Neurobiology By Vascular Biologists which might have implications for the multitude of cancer patients dealing with peripheral nerve issues. Although like so many discoveries of this nature we won't see therapeutic application of it for some time, but having a new key to the puzzle does give hope.

Lead by Professor Sussan Nourshargh the research reports on the previously unknown expression and function of a particular cell adhesion molecule, junctional adhesion molecule-C (JAM-C), in peripheral nerves. JAM-C, largely associated to date with inflammatory disorders, was found to play a critical role in maintaining the integrity and function of peripheral nerves by forming an integral part of the insulating sheath that surrounds these nerves - the myelin. [news, abstract]


Many of the myeloma therapies (and other cancer therapies as well) have peripheral nerve issues ranging from permanent debilitating damage to annoying sensory disruptions. The possibility that myelin sheath integrity could be enhanced by a JAM-C therapy thereby alleviating a nasty side effect is exciting news.
Embryonic stem cells derived from skin made the news this week also. [Cell, Science] The lead investigator gave as an example of potential therapy, nerve regeneration. Again stressing years (not decades) before any therapeutic use would be realized. My lingering question was if you can derive embryonic stem cells from skin cells how about hematopoietic stem cells (that don't produce dysfunctional B-cells)?

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