A webinar later this morning will address a topic we frequently write about: the power of using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to create laboratory models of diseases. Those models help us understand the cause of the disease and look for ways to treat it. This relatively simple process takes tissue—usually a skin sample or bit of blood—from a patient with a disease and reprograms those cells to be iPS cells. You can then mature those cells into the tissue that reflects the disease, say nerves for degenerative brain diseases, and in essence, have the disease in a lab dish.
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has started a series of webinars designed to provide the public with more information about where our field is making progress. The second half hour program in the series called “Stem Cells in Focus” is today beginning at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time and will address iPS disease models. It will feature a former colleague of mine from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Kevin Eggan, and they have titled his session “Disease Modeling with iPS Cells: Diseases in a Dish Explained.”
There is a link to log into the webinar on the Stem Cells in Focus home page and if you miss the live stream, the video will be available at that same web site. Last month’s webinar on using your own stem cells to repair your heart is posted there already. It features CIRM grantee Deepak Srivastava of the Gladstone Institutes.
We feature Deepak in a video on this same work looking at stem cells for pediatric heart repair. And if you want to know more about how you create the iPS cells that become the disease-in-the-dish, we have a four-minute video primer on the topic.