Innovative assay with stem cells discovers compounds that are promising in holding up neurological disorders
Results for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis exemplary for the planned stem cell reference center CARE in Münster
Scientists in the department of Hans Schöler at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster have developed a stem-cell-based assay for the motor neuron degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Among ten thousands of chemical compounds, they identified substances that protected motor neurons from degeneration (Cell Stem Cell, online first October 11, 2012, doi:10.1016/j.stem.2012.07.005). These results are important in two ways: first, the assay enables the innovative use of stem cell models for neurodegenerative drug discovery. Second, the identified compounds could be protective against many neurological diseases in addition to ALS. This study is a proof-of-concept for the planned stem cell reference center CARE in Münster, which aims to translate basic stem cell research in conjunction with pharmaceutical companies into new therapeutics and diagnostics.