Monthly Archives: February 2017
-NSI-189 Showed Durable Functional Recovery in a Rodent Model of Ischemic Stroke-
-NSI-189 Promoted Synaptic Remodeling After Stroke–
GERMANTOWN, Md., Feb. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Neuralstem, Inc. (Nasdaq:CUR), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of nervous system therapies based on its neural stem cell technology, announced the recent publication of preclinical data on NSI-189 in Journal of Cellular Physiology. The study demonstrated that NSI-189 improved behavioral function recovery and enhanced hippocampal synaptic plasticity in stroke-induced animals during the 12-week treatment period, which was maintained up to 24 weeks post-stroke.
The study entitled, “NSI-189, a Small Molecule with Neurogenic Properties, Exerts Behavioral and Neurostructural Benefits in Stroke Rats,” was led by Cesar V. Borlongan, Ph.D., at the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, in collaboration with Neuralstem.
In the study, adult rats were surgically induced to have an acute, severe ischemic stroke by manually occluding the middle cerebral artery. The stroke animals (n=24/group) were treated from 6 hours post-stroke for 12 weeks with daily oral administration of either NSI-189 (30mg/kg) or the vehicle. Half of each group was sacrificed at 12 weeks and the remaining half was observed for additional 12 weeks without any further drug treatment. The study demonstrated that the animals treated with NSI-189 for 12 weeks performed significantly better than the placebo animals in neurologic and motor deficit tests (p<0.05). Moreover, the animals treated with NSI-189 continued to improve during the second 12-week period even in the absence of drug treatment.
“The improvements in behavioral function recovery observed in the NSI-189-treated stroke-induced rats suggest NSI-189 could be a recovery therapy for stroke patients and deserves further exploration,” said Dr. Cesar Borlongan, Professor and Vice Chairman for Research, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair. “We believe that NSI-189 enhanced cell proliferation in the peri-infarct area and neurogenesis in the hippocampus, due to upregulating growth factors and increasing neurite outgrowth. It is exciting to consider the possibility of a treatment that induces active synaptic remodeling in the brain after stroke for self-repair toward better and faster recovery of function.”
Histological assessment of stroke-induced brains from NSI-189-treated rodents revealed enhanced cell proliferation in the peri-infarct area and neurite outgrowth in the hippocampus and partially in the cortex. These results suggest NSI-189 actively stimulated endogenous remodeling of the stroke-induced brain. Parallel in vitro studies further supported evidence for this remodeling process by upregulation of neurogenic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and stem cell factor (SCF).
“These data add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating NSI-189’s ability to promote neurogenic, synaptogenic plasticity in various disease models. Our data also indicate temporary treatment with NSI-189 can lead to long-lasting structural repair and suggest continued durability of functional improvements by NSI-189, even after NSI-189 treatment had ceased,” said Karl Johe, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Neuralstem. “We look forward to continuing to investigate the potential therapeutic benefits of NSI-189.”
NSI-189 is a proprietary, new chemical entity, being developed for treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). In preclinical models, NSI-189 stimulated neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and increased hippocampal volume, all of which may be effective in potentially reversing depression, enhancing cognition, and promoting neuroregeneration. The Phase 1b safety study with MDD patients showed unusually high anti-depressant effect sizes in various clinical scales. The company expects results from the ongoing Phase 2 efficacy trial in MDD in the third quarter of 2017, and results from the subsequent, 6-month observational study to assess NSI-189’s durability effect in the first half of 2018.
Neuralstem’s patented technology enables the commercial-scale production of multiple types of central nervous system stem cells, which are being developed as potential therapies for multiple central nervous system diseases and conditions.
Neuralstem’s technology enables the discovery of small molecule compounds by systematic screening chemical compounds against its proprietary human hippocampal stem cell line. The screening process has led to the discovery and patenting of molecules that Neuralstem believes may stimulate the brain’s capacity to generate new neurons, potentially reversing pathophysiologies associated with certain central nervous system (CNS) conditions.
The company has completed Phase 1a and 1b trials evaluating NSI-189, a novel neurogenic small molecule product candidate, for the treatment of major depressive disorder or MDD, and is currently conducting a Phase 2 efficacy study for MDD.
Neuralstem’s stem cell therapy product candidate, NSI-566, is a spinal cord-derived neural stem cell line. Neuralstem is currently evaluating NSI-566 in three indications: stroke, chronic spinal cord injury (cSCI), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Neuralstem is conducting a Phase 1 safety study for the treatment of paralysis from chronic motor stroke at the BaYi Brain Hospital in Beijing, China. In addition, NSI-566 was evaluated in a Phase 1 safety study to treat paralysis due to chronic spinal cord injury as well as a Phase 1 and Phase 2a risk escalation, safety trials for ALS. Subjects from all three indications are currently in long-term observational follow-up periods to continue to monitor safety and possible therapeutic benefits.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements relate to future, not past, events and may often be identified by words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “seek” or “will.” Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain. Specific risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements include risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, uncertainty of clinical trial results or regulatory approvals or clearances, need for future capital, dependence upon collaborators and maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Neuralstem’s periodic reports, including the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, and Form 10-Q for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and in other reports filed with the SEC. We do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Contact: Danielle Spangler Investor Relations Neuralstem, Inc 301.366.1481 Lori Rosen Public Relations LDR Communications 917.553.6808
Change Makers: 2 in 5 Alumni Currently Work in an Industry They Hadn’t Considered Prior to Enrollment
New Study Shows Graduate Business Programs Inspire New Career Pathways
RESTON, Va., Feb. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — More than half of graduate business school alumni are currently employed in an industry or job function they did not have experience in prior to entering business school, according to a report released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a nonprofit organization of leading graduate business schools. Findings from the Council’s 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey show that 2 in 5 (39 percent) alumni currently work in an industry they hadn’t considered prior to starting business school; they learned of the opportunity while enrolled in a graduate business program, with 88 percent sharing that they are satisfied with their job and employer.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/
“Year after year our research has shown that a graduate management education offers significant personal, professional and financial rewards. We’re now seeing strong evidence of how valuable the degree is with regard to changing careers,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. “Given the current pace of change in the economy and the workplace, candidates can be confident in the knowledge that a graduate management education can prepare them with the skills and flexibility they need to be in a better position to pivot and adapt their careers when opportunities present themselves and industries are disrupted.”
The findings of the 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report detail the education and career outcomes of nearly 15,000 graduate business alumni representing 1,100 graduate business programs located around the world. The report highlights that the value proposition of a graduate business degree is high regardless of graduation year or program type.
Compensation for Business School Graduates
Nearly all (95 percent) survey respondents rate their graduate management education a good to outstanding value. On average, the total compensation package for graduate business school alumni can range from a median of US$75,513 for an entry-level position upward to a median of US$440,122 in total compensation for a C-suite executive. Business school alumni earn 76 percent of their total compensation in base salary, on average. As they advance up the career ladder, a greater proportion of their compensation comes from non-salary sources such as bonuses.
Ninety-two percent of survey respondents are currently employed — 8 in 10 overall (81 percent) worldwide are employed with a company and 11 percent are self-employed entrepreneurs. Globally, the products and services (27 percent), technology (14 percent), and finance and accounting (11 percent) sectors employ the greatest proportion of alumni represented in this survey. Though alumni work across the spectrum of industries, their degree type often differentiates career paths. MBA alumni are more likely to work in technology, nonprofit and government, manufacturing, health care, energy, and utilities, compared with alumni holding non-MBA master’s degrees. Business master’s alumni, for example, are more likely to be found employed in finance, accounting and consulting industries.
As for job functions, MBA alumni are more likely to hold positions in marketing, sales, operations, logistics, and general management. Alumni of non-MBA business master’s degrees are more likely to work in finance, accounting, and human resource positions.
In total, more than 4 in 5 alumni agree their education prepared them for leadership positions (86 percent), prepared them for their chosen career (85 percent), and increased their earnings power (82 percent).
Most alumni delay their entrepreneurial activities until after graduation. In fact, 2 in 3 alumni entrepreneurs began their business after graduation following employment at another company. One in 8 alumni entrepreneurs sought venture capital and 72 percent of these individuals received such funding. Half of the alumni entrepreneurs say their university provided faculty guidance, experts from the community, and mentors to guide their entrepreneurial activities.
Most Valued Skills in the Workplace
Alumni rank interpersonal skills as most important in the workplace, regardless of job level or function. Among the top five talents important to their job, the ones related to “people” skills or emotional intelligence are highly ranked by alumni, with interpersonal skills (e.g., active listening, persuasion and negotiation, time management) topping the list.
Other skills predominate as one moves up the corporate ladder. Alumni in higher-level positions are more likely to indicate that managing human capital, strategy and innovation, and the decision-making process are more important to their current job compared with alumni in lower-level positions.
Most alumni are very likely to recommend their graduate business program to colleagues and friends. The overall Net Promoter Score — a customer loyalty metric — that business schools receive from their alumni is 47, which is greater than scores received in many sectors of the economy. Net Promoter Scores are positive for all graduate business programs, although differences by program type range from 22 for Master in Management programs to 62 for full-time two-year MBA programs. If offered the choice, more than 9 in 10 (92 percent) alumni would have pursued their graduate management education knowing what they know now.
“Graduate business programs expose students to a wide range of opportunities and provide alumni with access to a variety of career outcomes,” said Chowfla. “It’s clear from the results that alumni feel their education helped prepare them for leadership positions, as well as enhanced their earnings potential and guided their career development. This positivity is reflected in their recommendation of a graduate management education to others.”
About GMAC: The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is a nonprofit organization of 220 leading graduate business schools from around the world actively committed to advancing the art and science of admissions. The Council provides the solutions necessary for business schools and candidates to discover and evaluate one another to ensure that talent never goes undiscovered. GMAC owns and administers the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) exam, used by more than 6,500 graduate programs worldwide, as well as the NMAT by GMAC™ exam, used for entrance into graduate management programs in India. The Council is based in Reston, Va., with offices in London, New Delhi and Hong Kong. Additional information about the GMAT exam is posted on mba.com. For more information about GMAC, visit gmac.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Garfinkel; Director of Media Relations, GMAC +1 (703) 668-9805 or [email protected]
In a country torn by ethnic strife, Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi hailed a prominent Muslim lawyer and government advisor who was slain in an assassination-style killing as a hero and martyr whose example should inspire the nation.
"In a time when people are afraid to do what should be done, in a time when people are too afraid to refuse to do what should not be done, it is my wish for us to draw courage and strength from the constant realization that there are heroes and martyrs among the members of our party and in our country," Aung San Suu Kyi said during a memorial service on Sunday.
Her speech marked the first time Aung San Suu Kyi has broken her silence on the brutal murder of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and critic of Myanmar's powerful military.
Ko Ni was shot dead as he held his grandson on Jan. 29 outside Yangon �airport in a murder that shocked the country. A taxi driver, Ne Win, was also killed trying to stop the gunman, who authorities said was hired by a former military officer who is on the run.
"Losing someone like U Ko Ni is such a deep loss for the National League for Democracy (NLD)," she said. "The fact that he worked together with the party for many years through his belief is also something that our party is proud of," she said. "I respect and value him a lot."
Ang San Suu Kyi described Ko Ni as a constitutional expert and a tireless supporter of the rule of law.
"U Ko Ni is someone who loved to talk about the law even after the listener got bored," she told a packed house at Tawwin Hinnsi Hall in Yangon. "He had a big interest in the law and especially the constitution."
A critic of both sides
Ko Ni was a prominent critic of the �military and its continued influence, including its control of key ministries and guaranteed seats in parliament, provisions in the army-written constitution that the NLD wants to eventually overturn.
Aung San Suu Kyi holds the positions of state counselor and foreign affairs minister as Myanmar's 2008 constitution bars her from the presidency because she is the widow and mother of foreigners. The provisions appear to have been written specifically to prevent her from being eligible for the presidency.
The constitution also reserves a quarter of seats in parliament for members of the military, with the most powerful posts given to active-duty or retired generals.
While Ko Ni criticized the military and its continued influence, Ko Ni was unafraid to point out the shortcomings of the NLD, criticizing the party for its failure to field Muslim candidates. He also condemned what he saw as the increasing Islamophobia that has swept through the nation in recent years.
The murder occurred at a time when religious tension between Myanmar's Buddhist majority and Muslim minority is running high.
A crackdown in Rakhine state by Myanmar security forces on Rohingya Muslims since October has left more than 1,000 dead and forced about 69,000 villagers to flee to safety in neighboring Bangladesh, according to United Nations estimates.
Some of the Rohingya who fled have accused Myanmar security forces of extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and arson during the lockdown.
The investigation into Ko Ni's murder has been criticized for ignoring possible ties to the military.
During a press conference by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Myanmar Police Force on the investigation, Lt. Gen. Kyaw Swe described the reason for Ko Ni's murder as "extreme patriotism."
Police Chief Zaw Win, however, blamed it on a grudge.
"It is just the behavior of the youths," he said according to the report. "They had a personal grudge against him and decided to kill him."
Win Htein, an NLD secretariat member, told RFA's Myanmar Service that the press conference was reminiscent of the ones given under former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt in the military junta era that ended only in 2011.
Khin Nyunt oversaw the arrest of thousands of people, many of whom were tortured and were sentenced by kangaroo courts to decades-long prison sentences. Military intelligence units loyal to Khin Nyunt infiltrated almost every organization in the country, and he maintained networks of spies in almost every neighborhood.
"The Saturday press conference looked like the ones by Gen. Khin Nyunt in the SPDC era: Listen to what we say. It's up to you whether you believe it or not. That's all," he said, dismissing the notion that the murder was carried out by young people.
"This assassination was thoroughly planned by those who are old enough to have common sense and sound judgment," he said.
Police and the military are on the lookout for Aung Win Khaing, who is on the run, and other possible conspirators.
Aung Win Khaing is the brother of Aung Win Zaw, who was arrested on Jan. 30 in Kayin state in connection with the murder.
Aung Win Zaw told police that Aung Win Khaing promised to pay him 100 million kyats (about U.S. $73,000) to have Ko Ni assassinated and gave him 10 million kyats (U.S. $7,400) up front.
Aung Win Zaw allegedly hired a third man named Kyi Lin to assassinate Ko Ni in exchange for a car.
Kyi Lin shot 63-year-old Ko Ni at close range in the back of the head outside Yangon's international airport after the attorney returned with a delegation of government and civic leaders from a trip to Indonesia, where they participated in a workshop on interfaith tolerance and reconciliation.
He also shot and killed taxi driver Ne Win, who had given chase after the attorney was gunned down.
'Very proud to be Burmese'
The government previously said that the assassination was a politically motivated act meant to "destabilize the state."
At an interfaith peace prayer in Sanchaung Township, Ko Ni's daughter Yin New Khine told the crowd that being Muslim and Burmese are not mutually exclusive.
"My father practiced Islam, but he was very proud to be Burmese," she said. "He was a Muslim who loved Myanmar very much. I am very proud of my father, and I am very proud to be a Burmese."
"I always say proudly that I am a Burmese whenever I am asked," she added. "I will love my country until I die like my father did."
Copyright (copyright) 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036
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TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Countries in Southeast Asia are talking one-on-one with China about shared rights to fish and fossil fuels in the contested South China Sea, but nationalism or lack of political trust may snarl any agreements and shift focus to informal economic deals.
Senior leaders from China and Vietnam met last month to talk about maritime cooperation that could include a joint search for undersea oil or gas. It was China's latest effort to talk privately with a maritime rival since a world arbitration tribunal in The Hague ruled in July that the basis for Beijing's claims to about 95 percent of the sea lack legal merit.
China has spoken as well with Malaysia and the Philippines about the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea that's prized for fish, fuel reserves and marine shipping lanes.
Agreements with China would reduce tension in Asia's widest-reaching sovereignty dispute by giving everyone something it wants without any loss of any country's effective control of islets in the sea. China rejected the arbitration ruling but has sought since to improve relations with the other countries on its own.
Chinese President Xi Jinping last year lauded the pursuit of bilateral agreements.
Talks on the South China Sea are being held largely in private, but experts forecast eventual deals on fishing rights or fishery management. China, Vietnam and the Philippines are particularly keen on fishing rights with their vessels spanning much of the sea.
"First thing that they want to do is to identify the fishing rights. And I think that's important because you have to come up with some kind of discipline or some kind of practice in terms of division of labor or the areas of fishing activities," said Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies think tank in Taiwan.
In a sign of how a fishery deal might work, since 2006 Vietnam and China have jointly patrolled fisheries in the shared Gulf of Tonkin. Last year, the two sides extended the patrol route.
After Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met his Chinese counterpart in Beijing in October, China stopped turning away Philippine fishing boats from contested waters around Scarborough Shoal west of Luzon Island, news reports said.
But economic deals not formally tied to the maritime dispute can come under fire if relations worsen.
This week, Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay, acting as chairman of an ASEAN foreign minister meeting, said he had "grave concern" about China's moves to militarize artificial islands in the disputed sea.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he found the comment "baffling and regrettable." Deals reached during Duterte's Beijing visit are being put into action, he said, and China has promised to quit construction in the sea.
Oil exploration tricky
Since at least 2013, China and Vietnam have talked about joint oil exploration, and a Sino-Philippine oil discussion began in October.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates there are 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under the sea. Brunei, China, Malaysia and Vietnam now do their own prospecting, and the Philippines has taken exploration bids from private companies.
But joint fossil fuel searches lack appeal because the sharing of any discoveries would imply giving up sovereignty of the tract where it was found, said Carl Baker, director of programs at the think tank Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu.
Resource-sharing deals work legally if signatories lay aside the sovereignty questions, but populations at home may still suspect their governments are giving in, said Douglas Guilfoyle, associate international law professor at Monash University in Australia.
"They're harder to pull off in practice than in theory," Guilfoyle said. "There are practical negotiating issues, but then the other issues of politics, trust and whether your citizens will ultimately support such a thing."
Changes in a country's leadership could hurt deal-making, he said, and some countries lack a history of political trust to start. Duterte's predecessor, for example, became angry enough with China to file suit in the world court of arbitration. Duterte moved to make up with Beijing after taking office in June.
Two-way deals may include how to avoid mishaps at sea, heading off the likes of deadly clashes between Vietnam and China in 1974 and 1988. Separately, China is set to pursue a code of conduct framework this year with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after years of resisting it.
The association code should be consistent with any bilateral ones, said Herman Kraft, political scientist at University of the Philippines Diliman.
Chinese foreign investment
Without specific deals on how to use the sea, China may instead use its nominal GDP of more than $11 billion, the world's second largest, to increase trade, investments or development aid to the Southeast Asian maritime claimants, which are eager to grow their own economies.
Beijing's "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiative is set up to allocate money from a $40 billion fund and $100 billion in Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) equity for infrastructure construction in Southeast Asia, a boon to Chinese companies that find the home market too competitive.
In tentative signs of economic largess deals, Vietnam started to see a surge in Chinese tourists last year, while the Philippines expects $24 billion in development aid as well as investments from China following the presidential dialogue in October.
In November, Malaysia and China signed 14 memoranda of understanding on business cooperation. China was set to sell Malaysia four ships for national defense and make 55 billion ringgit ($12.4 billion) in soft loans for a railway line. Malaysia already counted China as its top trading partner and source of direct investment.
It seldom criticizes China openly over its maritime activity, even though both sides claim the same parts of the sea's Spratly Island chain.
Beijing may ask other countries to remain quiet about China's land reclamation at sea, increased military presence on some of the islets or coast guard journeys through waters frequented by other parties, analysts say.
"(The Chinese) are investing heavily in providing aid and support and infrastructure," said Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan. "They are trying to show on one hand China's strength in doing so or on the second to dissuade other countries from disputing China over South China Sea."
Source: Voice of America