In order to understand the cause of neurodegenerative diseases — and to develop drugs to treat them — researchers must be able to create models of the brain and of the central nervous system (CNS) that are human-relevant.
These models require human cells, and the cells of an individual who suffers from a neurodegenerative disease will provide more accurate information about the particular characteristics of that individual’s disease.
Since it’s not practical to biopsy cells of the brain and CNS, researchers at Cedars-Sinai are using their expertise with induced pluripotent stem cells to create patient-specific cells with this non-invasive technique.
In a recent paper published in Stem Cell Reports, researchers at Cedars-Sinai showed how culturing stem cell-derived neurons together with brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) in our Organ-Chips can lead to the development of neurons that feature characteristics of mature, adult cells. The research was led by Sam Sances of Cedars-Sinai.