Dementia in a dish
iPS-technology offers new platform to investigate frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes to die. In Germany alone, approximately 33,000 persons are affected by this disease. The exact mechanisms for the neurodegeneration are so far unknown. Therefore, there is no therapy that could cure or arrest FTD. Scientists of the Medical Faculty of the University of Münster and of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine have now used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) to develop a disease model for FTD in a petridish. With this technique, they succeeded to identify a gene that plays a protective role in affected neurons (Stem Cell Reports, epub July 2, 2015). Moreover, the researchers could show that the FTD-iPS cells could be used for drug screenings to develop a therapy for FTD.