Primary and stem cells are becoming important sources for the generation of organotypic tissue models used in many biopharmaceutical applications, regenerative medicine, disease modelling and drug discovery. They promise to revolutionize the drug discovery process at all stages, from target identification through to toxicology studies.
While primary cells by nature represent the native tissue most accurately, they usually have limited capacity to divide and thus need to be freshly isolated for each assay limiting their application. In contrast the ability of stem cells to generate physiologically relevant cells in limitless supply makes them an attractive alternative to currently used recombinant cell lines or primary cells. Emerging technologies involve the production of organoids from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and the use of organ-on-a-chip devices. These approaches are showing great promise for developing a more reliable, rapid and cost-effective process when compared with the current use of animal models.
The current challenges include routinely directing stem cell differentiation to reproducibly and cost-effectively generate pure specific lineages.
During TEDD Annual Meeting, we will discuss how stem cells have already been used in the drug discovery process and how novel technologies can be applied to attain widespread adoption of stem cell technology by the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.