Coverage Highlights

8.1.14 Crain’s Detroit Business explores NSI-566 next steps with ALS P.I., Dr. Eva Feldman, and reviews additional indication, Alzheimer’s disease, following promising animal research.
7.30.14 The Wall Street Journal interviews President/CEO, Richard Garr, on patient-directed social media’s impact on trials. NSI-566/ALS patients have independently chosen to blog online.
November 2013 FORBES' feature quotes President/CEO Richard Garr extensively, on the differentiation and commercialization of Neuralstem’s proprietary cell technology.
11.20.13 FOX Medical Team's Beth Galvin continues her NSI-566/ALS coverage at Emory with a patient’s perspective segment. Phase I patients, Ted Harada and John Conley, are featured.
November-December 2013 Bethesda Magazine feature provides rich insights on Neuralstem’s “potential wonder drug aimed specifically at rebuilding the hippocampus”: NSI-189.
October 2013 Practical Neurology interviews Chairman and CSO Dr. Karl Johe and P.I. Dr. Eva Feldman about the NSI-566/ALS trials in “Decreasing Progression, Increasing Function.”
8.28.13 FOX News Detroit walks with NSI-566/ALS Phase I patient Ted Harada and P.I. Dr. Eva Feldman on the eve of the Phase II trial.
5.30.13 Bioscience Technology ALS P.I. Dr. Eva Feldman and Neuralstem’s President/CEO Richard Garr in a feature that explores data from six extraordinary ALS responders – “as rare as a red wolf.”
9.13.12 MIT's Technology Review reports on CELL SCI research showing “paralyzed rats walk again after stem cell transplant” of NSI-566, suggesting hope for treatment of spinal cord injury.

Select media coverage in this website is provided for the information and convenience of the public, and is not intended to be all-encompassing nor an endorsement of the specific stories or media outlets.

  • The Pill That Could Cure Depression by Growing Your Brain

Gizmodo, by Kristen Philipkoski, Science Editor, January 9, 2012

If you are depressed, or schizophrenic or have Alzheimer's, scientists say you probably have a shrunken hippocampus. The good news: a drug that just entered human trials promises to re-grow that part of the brain.

It's an entirely new approach to treating clinical depression, which is the first of several diseases scientists at biotech company Neuralstem are hoping to address with their experimental oral drug. Most antidepressants work on brain chemistry, tweaking levels of neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This is the first drug that aims to re-grow patients' atrophied brains.


Dr. Karl Johe, Neuralstem's CEO, believes that depression is a three-headed beast that affects neurotransmitter levels, neurons, and hippocampus size. And he says their new drug could address all three. He also hopes the drug will reverse the disease to the point that patients could permanently go off the drug.

"If we can show by MRI that we've increased hippocampus volume and at the same time reversed depression symptoms for six months after patients have stopped taking the drug, then we'll have a cure."

That a too-small hippocampus causes depression and other diseases is still technically a theory in humans (though it's been demonstrated in rats and chimps). So if the drug grows hippocampus volume and thereby treats depression, we'll not only have a new treatment, but the study results would be proof that a shriveled hippocampus is at least in part the culprit.

The scientists showed first that the drug worked in the lab: They started with dishes of neural stem cells and added several compounds they thought might instigate growth. Seven showed promise, but they could only afford to develop one, so they chose NSI-189. They then tested it in mice; after taking the drug, the rodents had larger hippocampi.

Thirty-five healthy humans have now taken the drug with no ill effects, so the FDA gave the company the OK to start testing in depressed patients. They'll give the pill to 18 volunteers (six will get a placebo) in three groups, each receiving a progressively larger dose, each over 28 days. They expect this phase, which is mainly to make sure the drugs is safe, to take about six months. If all goes well they hope to proceed to phase two clinical trials later this year, which will test to determine whether the drug is both safe and effective. (After that, a final phase three trial to confirm safety and efficacy will remain before the company can market the drug.)

I couldn't help thinking about those healthy test subjects who took the drug. Will they get super brain powers? The healthy mice that received the drug did grow extra large hippocampi, the seahorse-shaped part of the brain involved with both short and longterm memory and spatial navigation. Johe isn't ruling out the possibility of souped-up brains:

"It's an exciting possibility and we'll definitely be looking out for it."



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