LOS ANGELES (Embargoed Until April 22, 1999) - A Cedars-Sinai Medical Center neurologist and researcher into genetic neurological disorders will provide details of recent findings related to spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) and describe advances in determining the chromosomal location of a new ataxia-related gene at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
Stefan-M. Pulst, M.D., Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neuruology at Cedars-Sinai, is scheduled to present two educational and five scientific sessions during the AAN's convention to be held April 17 through 24 in Toronto.
In a presentation Thursday afternoon, Dr. Pulst will announce the recent discovery of a protein that is involved in causing human brain tumors. Identified by a member of Dr. Pulst's team, this protein binds to a protein that suppresses tumor growth. The presence of the tumor-suppressing protein appears to be required for the tumor-causing protein to function. This discovery will open new avenues for the treatment of brain tumors.
The subject of several of the week's earlier sessions is ataxia. Characterized by unsteadiness and an inability to coordinate muscle movements, this disorder may result from a variety of causes, both hereditary and acquired. More than 150,000 Americans suffer from ataxia.
A subset of ataxias, autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias (ADCAs), have genetic origins and impact the cerebellum of the brain, which is involved in the coordination of muscular movements. Because of the inability to control muscle actions, patients with ADCAs typically exhibit rapid and exaggerated movement, speech problems, and tremor when attempting voluntary movement.
To date, five spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) genes have been identified: SCA 1, 2,
3, 6, and 7. The chromosomal locations of SCA 4 and 5 have been pinpointed. At
the AAN meetings, Dr. Pulst's team will describe the mapping of a new gene,
SCA10, to a region on chromosome 22. SCA10
Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center