The neurosphere assay applied to neural stem cells and cancer stem cells

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The discovery of neural stem cells (NSCs) in the mammalian brain has raised many expectations as these unique cells might recapitulate different neurological diseases, including brain tumors, both from a functional and molecular perspective. Proper in vitro culturing of NSCs has emerged as a critical methodological issue, given that it should preserve the in vivo features of NSCs, with particular emphasis on cell heterogeneity. At the same time, the methodology for NSC culturing should allow the production of large amounts of cells to be exploited not only for prospective clinical applications, but also for drug screening. Direct in vitro selection of NSCs and, very recently, cancer stem cells (CSCs) by means of defined serumfree conditions represents the most reliable methodology to obtain long-term expanding SC lines. Here we describe the methods currently employed to enrich for NSCs/CSCs based on the NeuroSphere Assay (NSA) and their adaptation to specific assays for testing the efficacy of neuroactive compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781627033107
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)10643745


  • Cancer stem cell
  • Neural stem cell cultures
  • Neurosphere assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Medicine(all)


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