This week in techniques



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Disease models

Brain organoids to model microencephaly in vitro

Cell culture studies suggest induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived brain tissue could aid the discovery of therapeutics for neurodevelopmental disorders. In a 3D cell culture system, iPS cells treated with neural differentiation factors formed small organoids with distinct cell layers and gross morphology analogous to those of adult human brains. Brain organoids derived from iPS cells of patients with microcephaly were smaller and less complex than organoids derived from healthy individuals. Next steps include growing and characterizing brain organoids from iPS cells of patients with other neurological diseases.

SciBX 6(37); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1042
Published online Sept. 26, 2013

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Lancaster, M.A. et al. Nature; published online Aug. 28, 2013;
Contact: Jürgen A. Knoblich, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria