The convergence of mechanistic targets for neurodegeneration and | 557
Translational Medicine

Translational Medicine
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-1025

+44 1223 790975

The convergence of mechanistic targets for neurodegeneration and cancer

International Conference on Translational Medicine

September 17-19, 2012 Holiday Inn San Antonio, Texas, USA

James A. Bibb

Scientific Tracks Abstracts: Transl Med

Abstract :

Synaptic remodeling is essential for the formation of neuronal circuitry in response to environmental stimuli. This dynamic process serves as the basis of learning and memory formation and is vulnerable to dysregulation that results in neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders. An emerging concept is that the process of synaptic remodeling represents a special adaptation of the cell cycle on a localized micro-scale. Indeed, many signal transduction pathways that have been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer�s disease have also been shown to mediate oncogenesis or metastasis. A prototypical example is the protein kinase Cdk5. This member of the cyclin-dependent kinase family has a non-cyclin cofactor and has been implicated in AD and other neurodegenerative disorders. While its function has been chiefly characterized in the brain where it is highly enriched, its role in sparsely populated cells of the periphery is becoming increasingly apparent. Bi-transgenic inducible dysregulation of Cdk5 causes neurodegeneration in mice. However, we find that expression in thyroid gland neuroendocrine cells causes medullary thyroid carcinoma and that Cdk5 contributes to this and possibly other forms of neuroendocrine cancer in humans. By exploring the mechanisms by which Cdk5 causes neuroendocrine cancer we are identifying new mechanistic targets for drug discovery and gaining insight also into the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration. This research demonstrates that intracellular signaling mechanisms represent valid targets for drug discovery with the potential to cross over to divergent fields and types of diseases.

Biography :

James Bibb is a recognized expert in neuronal signal transduction. His doctoral thesis research was conducted at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University and his work on dopamine neurotransmission was cited in the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Bibb has over 75 publications, three patents, and is an Associate Professor at UT Southwestern. His research interests include cognition enhancement, neuronal injury including stroke and traumatic brain injury, depression, addiction, and schizophrenia. His lab?s research is funded by institutions and foundations including the National Institutes of Mental Health, Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Drug Addiction, and the American Cancer Society. You can read more about his research at http://