Harry Waisman Memorial Lecture

Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD

Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD

"Stem Cells for Spinal Cord Injury"

April 21, 2017 at Noon
John D. Wiley Conference Center
Mark H. Tuszynski, MD, PhD - University of California, San Diego

 About the Speaker: In his research program, Dr. Tuszynski seeks to gain a greater understanding of the role of neurotrophic factors in axonal growth and cell survival in the intact and injured adult central nervous system.

Tuszynski's research bridges basic mechanisms of neurobiological function and clinical translation. He initiated the first human trial of gene therapy for an adult neurodegenerative disorder — Alzheimer's disease (AD) — in April 2001. In that study, he delivered human nerve growth factor to the cholinergic basal forebrain to determine whether cholinergic cell loss can be reduced and cholinergic function amplified in people with AD.

Current Tuszynski Laboratory Research Topics: Biological Basis of Normal Learning and Memory Hypothesis: Growth factors modulate alterations in neuronal structure and function to physically represent experience in cortical neuronal systems.

This research program aims to identify neural mechanisms that lead to the representation of long-term experience (memory) in the brain. Learning in motor systems in the cortex is a key model in these studies.

Neurodegeneration, Aging, and AD Hypothesis: Neurons undergo functional decline in aging as a result of a combination of cell dysfunction and, in limited regions, cell death. Growth factors can ameliorate both cellular dysfunction and death in animal models of aging and degeneration, including AD.

This research is identifying mechanisms that underlie age-related loss of function in the nervous system. The therapeutic potential of gene delivery of growth factors is being explored as a possible treatment for age-related diseases such as AD and Parkinson's disease.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Hypothesis: Combinatorial therapeutic strategies can enhance axonal plasticity and regeneration after acute and chronic SCI.

The failure of the spinal cord to regenerate after injury is caused by (1) lack of production of growth-promoting substances such as growth factors in the injury site, (2) lack of permissive bridges for axon growth within injury sites, (3) deficiency of strong signals for the injured cell to re-enter an active growth state, and (4) blockade of growth by inhibitors in the injured region.

This research program tests the ability of cells and growth factors to promote regeneration after SCI. Tested cells include stem cells, autologous bone marrow cells, Schwann cells, and fibroblasts. The Tuszynski group is examining both acute and chronic models of SCI.

From the speaker's website at: https://neurosciences.ucsd.edu/faculty/Pages/mark-tuszynski.aspx

Accreditation Statement

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement:

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

To sign in and complete the evaluation for CME credit, go to: https://uwmadison.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6zd9fWdvoYPfm1T

For Further Information:
Contact Teresa Palumbo at 608.263.5837 or palumbo@waisman.wisc.edu

The seminar series is funded by the John D. Wiley Conference Center Fund, the Friends of the Waisman Center and NIH grant U54 HD090256.