2010-2015 : 12 major scientific advances
Discover the different steps that Institut du Cerveau – ICM made to advance the field of neuroscience.
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IDENTIFICATION OF A PROMISING THERAPEUTIC TARGET FOR ALZHEIMER DISEASE AND PRION DISEASES
Researchers have identified a cellular component – PDK1 kinase – implicated upstream in the pathway that produces pathological misfolded A-beta proteins that form amyloid plaques outside neurons, one of the 2 lesions found in Alzheimer disease. PDK1 is also implicated upstream in the production of abnormal prion proteins. When this target – PDK1 – is blocked by inhibitors in experimental models, the production of pathological A-beta or prion proteins is blocked. PDK1 thus represents a potential and promising therapeutic target for future treatments of both AD and prion diseases (Work of Stéphane Haik).
IDENTIFICATION OF 6 NEW GENETIC RISK FACTORS FOR PARKINSON DISEASE
The result of a highly ambitious genetic study – 4 years of work on a cohort of more than 100 000 individuals, healthy or with the disease – the researchers identified 6 new genetic risk factors, which are specific to Parkinson disease. Like a kind of molecular loan, this result represents an important advance in the genetic detection of the disease, on the one hand, and for the exploration of new therapeutic targets, on the other hand (Work of Alexis Brice).
IDENTIFICATION OF A NEUROPROTECTIVE PEPTIDE THAT CAN PREVENT NEURODEGENERATION
Inspired by strategies used by certain viruses of neurons – neurotropic viruses – which use normal cell functions to block cell death and thus maintain their habitat and survive, the researchers identified a viral protein – protein X – which, by itself and independently of any viral context, prevents the degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons affected by Parkinson disease (Work of Stéphane Hunot).
IDENTIFICATION OF A NEW GENE ASSOCIATED WITH A FAMILIAL FORM OF EPILEPSY
Thanks to the help of families that agreed to participate in clinical studies and genetic analyses, the researchers identified a new gene – DEPDC5 – in which mutations are implicated in focal familial epilepsies. This discovery, which led to a real leap forward in the understanding of this type of epilepsy, has proved to be very promising for patients in terms of diagnosis (work of Stéphanie Baulac and Eric le Guern).
PREDICTION AND FOLLOW-UP OF EPILEPTIC SEIZURES THANKS TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES WITH THE INTELLIGENT GARMENT FROM BIOSERENITY
A young enterprise in the bioincubator of the Institut du Cerveau – ICM, the iPEPS – BioSerenity – developed the Neuronaute, an intelligent, connected garment that will revolutionize the diagnosis and medical follow-up of patients with epilepsy; the aim is personalized care and long-distance follow-up of patients. This type of technological innovation is possible thanks to the Institut du Cerveau – ICM model that associates researchers and the enterprises present in the bioincubator. (Pierre Frouin PDG of BioSerenity – iPEPS Institut du Cerveau – ICM, in connection with Pr. Vincent Navarro and Institut du Cerveau – ICM researchers)
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS – MS
IDENTIFICATION OF A NEW THERAPEUTIC TARGET FOR MYELIN REPAIR IN MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
The symptoms of MS are due to “demyelination” – loss of the myelin sheath that protects axons – wires that conduct the nervous influx – like the insulating sheath that surrounds electrical wires and assures proper conduction of the current.
The researchers identified a molecule – endotheline 1 – which is produced by the surrounding nerve cells in reaction to lesions of the myelin sheath and inhibits re-myelination. This molecule represents a very promising therapeutic target for the development of a re-myelinating treatment, since in experimental models pharmacological inhibition of the molecule accelerates myelination. (Work of Brahim Nait Oumesmar)
STROKE – VASCULAR DISORDERS OF THE BRAIN
REHABILITATION OF STROKE VICTIMS WITH “SERIOUS GAMES” FROM LABCOM BRAIN E-NOVATION
Based on the interaction between researchers, physicians, clinicians and engineers, LabCom BRAIN e-NOVATION, a joint laboratory of the Institut du Cerveau – ICM and the GENIOUS group that makes video games, created “Voracy Fish” a “serious game” – therapeutic game – aimed at the reeducation and rehabilitation of stroke patients (in relation with Marie-Laure Welter, coordinator of LabCom).
THE BRAIN AND ITS FUNCTIONING
WRITE AND DRAW WITH THE EYES
Researchers have developed a device that enables one to draw and write thanks to eye movements. This aim of this system is to improve the life of patients with paralysed limbs, offering them an alternative means of communication. (Work of Jean Laurenceau)
DIAGNOSE A STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND ESTABLISH A PROGNOSIS
Researchers identified certain brain signatures of the state of consciousness in victims of severe brain lesions. This clinical information will be precious for diagnosing the state of consciousness and predicting the recuperation of the patients (work of Lionel Naccache).