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May 4, 2017 – Human Stroke Prevention and Tolerance: What can we learn from “hibernator” neural stem cells?

Arctic Ground Squirrel’s (AGS) are hibernators who can withstand large fluctuations in body temperature and metabolic activity. Even when not hibernating, the neurons in the brain in animals display tolerance to ischemic insult, such as induced-cardiac arrest. Yet, non-hibernating animals (humans, rats, dogs), in this case rats, had significant loss of neurons following cardiac arrest (Kunjan et al., 2006). What is not clear, is if the “neurons” themselves are inherently tolerant to very low oxygen and lack of energy metabolism. We isolated neural stem cells from wild-caught Arctic Ground Squirrel yearlings (Yes, from the Arctic circle!), to determine the level of inherent tolerance and to determine if we can find the key to human neuron tolerance toward stroke and other neurodegenerative conditions.

About the speaker:

Dr. Judith Kelleher-Andersson has over twenty years of experience discovering and developing smallmolecule, central nervous system therapeutics in the biotechnology industry. She has raised equity of over 2 million and obtained a number of state and federal grants related to noveltherapeutic development. After founding Neuronascent, Kelleher-Andersson discovered and developed a number of technologies. One lead therapeutic is a first-in-class neuron regenerativeagent, that is patented and has competed all GLP safety testing, GMP manufacturing and bringsthe lead to point of IND application to begin first-in-human testing in healthy aged population. Prior to founding Neuronascent, Inc, she directed drug development research at Neuralstem, Inc.,at Centaur Pharmaceuticals and at Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She strategically directed research/development and personnel toward finding innovative therapies for neurologicalindications with large unmet need. She headed the Alzheimer’s disease program in collaborationwith Astra-Zeneca while at Centaur, and successfully brought a small molecule therapeutic topre-nomination status (primary inventor). She is primary inventor on a neurogenicdepression therapeutic, while at Neuralstem, that is presently in Phase 2b clinical testing. Dr. Kelleher-Andersson has over 70 US, European and World patents. She received her Ph.D. inbiochemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed post-graduate work at University of California, Los Angeles and at University of California.

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