A gene found only in humans and active in the cerebral cortex can enlarge the ferret brain

Medical Xpress | January 08, 2019

The human brain owes its characteristic wrinkled appearance to its outer layer, the cerebral cortex. During human evolution, the neocortex, the evolutionarily youngest part of the cerebral cortex, expanded dramatically and had to fold into wrinkles to fit inside the restricted space of the skull. The human neocortex supports advanced cognitive skills such as reasoning and language. But how did the human neocortex become so big? The answer may lie in genes that are unique to humans, such as ARHGAP11B.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden found that this human-specific gene, when introduced into the developing brain of ferrets, can cause an enlargement of their neocortex. ARHGAP11B causes neural progenitor cells, which are cells that produce neurons, to make more of themselves for a longer period of time. The result is an expanded neocortex. The human neocortex is roughly three times bigger than that of our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, and is the seat of many of the higher cognitive functions that are unique to humans, such as our speech or the ability to learn. A key question for scientists is how in human evolution the neocortex became so big.



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Medical, Diagnostics

Astellas and Poseida Therapeutics Announce Strategic Investment to Support Poseida's Commitment to Redefining Cancer Cell Therapy

PRNewswire | August 08, 2023

Astellas Pharma Inc. and Poseida Therapeutics, Inc. announced a strategic investment to support the advancement of Poseida's commitment to redefining cancer cell therapy. Under the terms of the transaction agreements, Astellas will invest a total of $50 million, including $25 million to acquire 8,333,333 shares of common stock of Poseida (approximately 8.8% of the outstanding common stock of Poseida) at $3.00 per share in a private placement and a one-time $25 million payment for a right of exclusive negotiation and first refusal to license one of Poseida's clinical stage programs: P-MUC1C-ALLO1, an allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy in development for multiple solid tumor indications. In addition, Poseida has granted Astellas a board observer seat, which includes the ability to attend Poseida's scientific advisory board meetings, and certain notice rights related to any potential change of control of Poseida. Astellas has established the Focus Area Approach for its research and development strategy. One of Astellas' Primary Focuses within the strategy is immuno-oncology. Astellas is committed to developing next-generation immuno-oncology drugs using multi-functional platforms. Its portfolio includes oncolytic viruses, bispecific immune cell engagers, small molecules, and cell therapy platforms. Poseida is engaged in the research and development of cell and gene therapies for cancer and rare genetic diseases by leveraging its proprietary genetic editing platforms. In oncology, Poseida has a broad pipeline of allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy product candidates for both solid and liquid tumors, including P-MUC1C-ALLO1, which is in Phase 1 development for the treatment of multiple solid tumor indications. "By leveraging our extensive expertise, experience in cancer biology and unique technologies, we are focused on reinvigorating the immune system's ability to discover, disarm and destroy cancers in more patients. We are pursuing this ambitious goal through innovative and multifunctional modality platforms, using the capabilities at our global R&D sites as well as through partnership with external expert partners," said Adam Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer, Astellas. "We believe that this investment fits strategically with our long-term vision of expanding our capability in immuno-oncology and will ultimately lead to the development of new therapeutics for patients in need of cancer immunotherapy." "We are excited to enter this strategic relationship with Astellas, a premier biopharmaceutical company that shares our long-term vision that cell and gene therapies represent an exciting growth area for the development of innovative medicines for improving patient care," said Mark Gergen, Poseida's Chief Executive Officer. "This investment further validates the potential of our proprietary genetic engineering technology platform and cell therapy approach, and we look forward to working with Astellas to advance our shared vision and explore future opportunities for collaboration to further unlock that potential." About P-MUC1C-ALLO1 P-MUC1C-ALLO1 is an allogeneic CAR-T product candidate in Phase 1 development for multiple solid tumor indications. Poseida believes P-MUC1C-ALLO1 has the potential to treat a wide range of solid tumors derived from epithelial cells, such as breast, ovarian, colorectal, lung, pancreatic and renal carcinomas, as well as other cancers expressing a cancer-specific form of the Mucin 1 protein, or MUC1-C. P-MUC1C-ALLO1 is designed to be fully allogeneic, with genetic edits to eliminate or reduce both host-vs-graft and graft-vs-host alloreactivity. Poseida has demonstrated the elimination of tumor cells to undetectable levels in preclinical models of both breast and ovarian cancer. Additional information about the Phase 1 study is available at www.clinicaltrials.gov using identifier: NCT05239143. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. Astellas is promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, Astellas is also looking beyond its foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine its expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients. About Poseida Therapeutics, Inc. Poseida Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company advancing differentiated cell and gene therapies with the capacity to cure certain cancers and rare diseases. Poseida's pipeline includes allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy product candidates for both solid and liquid tumors as well as in vivo gene therapy product candidates that address patient populations with high unmet medical need. Poseida's approach to cell and gene therapies is based on its proprietary genetic editing platforms, including its non-viral piggyBac® DNA Delivery System, Cas-CLOVER Site-Specific Gene Editing System and nanoparticle and hybrid gene delivery technologies. Poseida has formed a global strategic collaboration with Roche to unlock the promise of cell therapies for patients.

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Medical, Industry Outlook

TriSalus Life Sciences Completes Merger with MedTech Acquisition Corporation

Businesswire | August 11, 2023

TriSalus Life Sciences® Inc. an oncology company integrating its novel delivery technology with immunotherapy to transform treatment for patients with liver and pancreatic tumors, today announced the completion of its previously announced merger with MedTech Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: MTAC) (MedTech). TriSalus’ common stock and warrants are expected to commence trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbols “TLSI” and “TLSIW,” respectively, on August 11, 2023. “Completing our merger with MedTech marks an important milestone in our efforts to bring to market innovative approaches to treating liver and pancreatic tumors,” said Mary Szela, President and CEO of TriSalus. “Over the last several months we have advanced our device business and generated positive clinical data that supports the potential of our immunotherapeutic program. We are moving forward with the financial resources needed to grow our commercial organization and fund our key milestones through mid-2024. We believe that we are poised to create shareholder value as we continue our work to bring hope and improved treatments to the lives of patients. Finally, I want to especially thank our MTAC and TriSalus shareholders for trusting us to create value for them. I also want to thank our employees, interventional radiologists, and clinical investors and particularly our patients for their unwavering support that has been instrumental in helping us to achieve this milestone.” “We are excited to complete this merger with TriSalus and support the growth of its innovative devices and treatments,” said Chris Dewey, CEO of MedTech. “We believe that TriSalus has significant near and long-term value creation opportunities through its commercialization strategy and the potential to deploy SD-101 into multiple indications across several lines of therapy. We have full confidence that Mary and the experienced TriSalus team will continue working to meet significant unmet medical needs and delivering value to shareholders.” The Company’s new board of directors consists of Mats Wahlstrom, Mary Szela, Sean Murphy, Kerry Hicks, Dr. Anil Singhal, Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Kelly Martin, David J. Matlin and Dr. Arjun (“JJ”) Desai. Szela continued, “We welcome Andy, Kelly, JJ and David to the Board and look forward to benefiting from their experience across the medical technology, pharmaceutical, healthcare and financial industries. Innovative Device Technology Combined with Immunotherapeutic Platform Creates Significant Upside Potential Fast-Growing Core Device Business: TriSalus' commercial stage, FDA cleared TriNav® Infusion System includes the proprietary SmartValve technology. SmartValve enables precision delivery of therapeutics to tumors using the Pressure-Enabled Drug Delivery™ (PEDD) approach. The PEDD approach has been shown to modulate pressure and flow, increasing therapeutic delivery to the tumor while decreasing exposure in normal tissue – an important goal for interventional radiologists focused on better outcomes with less toxicity. PEDD brings the potential to improve patient outcomes and also brings additional expansion opportunities through the delivery of a wide variety of therapeutics. TriNav achieved $8.4 million and $12.4 million in net sales in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and is on track to generate approximately $19.2 million in net sales in 2023. Robust Device Pipeline: TriSalus' technology pipeline includes a range of devices that use technology expected to substantially improve therapeutic delivery. An FDA cleared delivery system for infusing immunotherapy into pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients is currently under study at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The pipeline also includes a full suite of devices that allows interventional radiologists to optimize therapy delivery across the broad range of solid tumor types, vessel sizes, and with greater precision using intra-procedural flow dynamic data. The first new device expected in the expanded toolkit is the TriNav LV device, designed to optimally address larger vessel sizes, which received 510(k) clearance by the FDA in May 2023 and is targeted for commercial launch in the first half of 2024. To accelerate TriSalus’ strategy, James “Jim” Alecxih was recently appointed as President, Device Technology Business. Jim will oversee the development and expansion of the Company’s portfolio of innovative infusion technologies. Therapeutic Platform in Clinical Development: TriSalus is developing SD-101, an investigational immunotherapeutic designed to improve patient outcomes by treating the immunosuppressive environment created by many tumors – an environment that can make current immunotherapies ineffective in the liver and pancreas. SD-101 is a class C TLR9 agonist with a dual mechanism of action and a differentiated profile versus other TLR agonists. In solid tumors, the drug alters the tumor microenvironment by reducing immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) while simultaneously stimulating multiple immune cell types. Patient data generated during Pressure-Enabled Regional Immuno-Oncology™ (PERIO) clinical trials support the hypothesis that SD-101 delivered via PEDD may have favorable immune effects within the liver and systemically. Currently SD-101 is being studied in three clinical trials for patients with uveal melanoma with liver metastases, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. In the studies reported to date, SD-101 in combination with systemic checkpoint inhibition and delivered with PEDD, achieved high concentrations in the liver with minimal systemic exposure and was well tolerated based on a low SD-101 treatment related serious adverse event rate of 5%, and resulted in immune cell activation and natural killer cell expansion. The immune effects in liver metastases and the blood are consistent with broad tumor microenvironment modulation and the ability of SD-101 to deplete MDSCs in the liver. These findings were highlighted during an oral discussion session at ASCO 2023. Additional Phase 1 data readouts for the PERIO clinical trial program are planned in the fourth quarter of 2023 and a Phase 2 trial is scheduled to be initiated in the second half of 2023. Well Positioned with Cash Runway: Proceeds raised in connection with the merger with MedTech, including proceeds from the recently closed private placement transaction and amounts remaining in the MedTech trust account, along with cash on hand, provides a cash runway through mid-2024 to fund key milestones. About TriSalus Life Sciences TriSalus Life Sciences® is an oncology company integrating novel delivery technology with immunotherapy to transform treatment for patients with liver and pancreatic tumors. The Company’s platform includes devices that utilize a proprietary drug delivery technology and a clinical stage investigational immunotherapy. The Company’s two FDA-cleared devices use its proprietary Pressure-Enabled Drug Delivery™ (PEDD) approach to deliver a range of therapeutics: the TriNav® Infusion System for hepatic arterial infusion of liver tumors and the Pancreatic Retrograde Venous Infusion System for pancreatic tumors. PEDD is a novel delivery approach designed to address the anatomic limitations of arterial infusion for the pancreas. The PEDD approach modulates pressure and flow in a manner that delivers more therapeutic to the tumor and is designed to reduce undesired delivery to normal tissue, bringing the potential to improve patient outcomes. SD-101, the Company’s investigational immunotherapeutic candidate, is designed to improve patient outcomes by treating the immunosuppressive environment created by many tumors and which can make current immunotherapies ineffective in the liver and pancreas. Patient data generated during Pressure-Enabled Regional Immuno-Oncology™ (PERIO) clinical trials support the hypothesis that SD-101 delivered via PEDD may have favorable immune effects within the liver and systemically.

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Research, Diagnostics

ADOCIA Announces the Availability of a Prospectus for its Capital Increase and Convertible Bond Issue

Businesswire | July 28, 2023

Adocia (Euronext Paris: FR0011184241 – ADOC), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical Company focused on the research and development of innovative therapeutic solutions for the treatment of diabetes and obesity (the “Company”), announces today the availability of an amendment to its 2022 Universal Registration Document, filed by the Company with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers ("AMF") on July 26, 2023, under number D.23-0346-A01, and an admission Prospectus approved by the AMF on July 26, 2023, under number 23-329, in connection with its reserved capital increase of around 5 million euros and the issue of convertible bonds subscribed for around 5 million euros. The Prospectus comprises: the 2022 Universal Registration Document filed by the Company with the AMF on April 26, 2023, under number D.23-0346; the amendment to the 2022 Universal Registration Document filed by the Company with the AMF on July 26, 2023 under number D.23-0346-A01; the Securities Note; and the Prospectus summary (included in the Securities Note). These documents can also be consulted on the Company's website (www.adocia.com) and on the AMF website (www.amf-France.org). About Adocia Adocia is a biotechnology Company specializing in the discovery and development of therapeutic solutions in the field of metabolic diseases, primarily diabetes and obesity. The Company has a broad portfolio of drug candidates based on four proprietary technology platforms: 1) The BioChaperone® technology for the development of new generation insulins and products combining insulins with other classes of hormones; 2) AdOral®, an oral peptide delivery technology; 3) AdoShell®, an immunoprotective biomaterial for cell transplantation, with a first application in pancreatic cells transplantation; 4) AdoGel®, a long-acting drug delivery platform. Adocia holds more than 25 patent families. Based in Lyon, the Company has about 100 employees. Adocia is listed on the regulated market of EuronextTM Paris (Euronext: ADOC; ISIN: FR0011184241).

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