The Brain Program at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute comprises a group of scientists studying a variety of neurological diseases of the peripheral and central nervous system using stem cell technology as their primary research tool. Several groups have a particular focus on using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to research neurological diseases.
Skin cells from patients can be converted into iPSCs, which are matured into the affected neurons or other nervous system cell types such as astrocytes, Schwann cells or oligodendrocytes. Scientists in the Brain Program can then study these cells in a dish to assess disease initiation, progression and possible treatment. This "disease modeling in a dish" was unattainable prior to the development of iPSC technology.
In addition, several researchers in the Brain Program are interested in transplanting human neural stem cells derived from iPSCs and other sources into animal models of degenerative diseases and stroke to determine if these cells can be used for treatment.
Other groups in the Brain Program focus on the molecular signals that regulate neural stem cell behavior and how these signals may go awry and lead to brain tumors. Using patient-specific mutations to create tumor models in animals, they are uncovering more targeted treatments to halt the progression of these malignancies. The Brain Program covers a diverse set of neurological conditions, from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to stroke and cancer. Peripheral nervous system diseases, like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, are also studied.
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Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute
Pavilion, Eighth Floor
8700 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048