Human Disease Modeling Under the Microscope

  • 6 March, 2014

The International Society for Stem Cell Research Puts

Human Disease Modeling Under the Microscope 

The Public is Invited to Learn More at “Disease Modeling with iPS Cells: Diseases in a Dish Explained,”
A Live Public Webcast, Taking Place March 13, 2:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. EDT

CHICAGO —Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) have been hailed as a future cell therapy, but they are playing an equally important role in research, revolutionizing the way scientists study human disease. By cultivating human stem cell lines in a dish, scientists are better able to understand diseases, including those with unique genetic markers.

Kevin Eggan, Ph.D., of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, is using iPS cells to study amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an incurable neurological condition, as well as psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Patients with ALS can have mutations in any one of 20-30 different genes, and creating patient-specific iPS cell lines allows him to study how different causes can lead to the same disease in different people and to look at how mutations can affect disease biology.

“Prior to the discovery of iPS cells, most research was conducted in animal models,” Eggan said. “While these models provide a lot of useful information, they do not allow us to mimic all human disease processes, which is the key to better understanding their origins and to the development of eventual treatments.”

In addition to ALS and schizophrenia, researchers have also developed iPS cell disease models for many other diseases, including heart, blood and eye diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and spinal muscular atrophy.

The ISSCR is hosting a free public webcast, entitled “Disease Modeling with iPS Cells: Diseases in a Dish Explained,” on March 13, from 2:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. EDT. Eggan will present an overview of current research and its potential and will field questions from participants. The event will be available via the ISSCR Connect Public Channel at, and interested participants are encouraged to register in advance.

6 March 2014

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (
The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.

Contact: Michelle Quivey, Senior Communications Manager,
International Society for Stem Cell Research

Interviews with Eggan are available upon request.