Human pluripotent stem cells as tools for neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disease modeling and drug discovery

Stefania Corti, Irene Faravelli, Marina Cardano, Luciano Conti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Although intensive efforts have been made, effective treatments for neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases have not been yet discovered. Possible reasons for this include the lack of appropriate disease models of human neurons and a limited understanding of the etiological and neurobiological mechanisms. Recent advances in pluripotent stem cell (PSC) research have now opened the path to the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) starting from somatic cells, thus offering an unlimited source of patient-specific disease-relevant neuronal cells.Areas covered: In this review, the authors focus on the use of human PSC-derived cells in modeling neurological disorders and discovering of new drugs and provide their expert perspectives on the field.Expert opinion: The advent of human iPSC-based disease models has fuelled renewed enthusiasm and enormous expectations for insights of disease mechanisms and identification of more disease-relevant and novel molecular targets. Human PSCs offer a unique tool that is being profitably exploited for high-throughput screening (HTS) platforms. This process can lead to the identification and optimization of molecules/drugs and thus move forward new pharmacological therapies for a wide range of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions. It is predicted that improvements in the production of mature neuronal subtypes, from patient-specific human-induced pluripotent stem cells and their adaptation to culture, to HTS platforms will allow the increased exploitation of human pluripotent stem cells in drug discovery programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-629
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Cell-based drug screening
  • Disease modeling
  • Drug discovery
  • Human ES cells
  • Human iPS cells
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neuronal subtypes
  • Screening platforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Medicine(all)


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