Potential for Alzheimer Drug Development With Miniature Brain Models: Yanhong Shi, PhD


The director of stem cell biology research at City of Hope spoke on the newly developed brain organoid, which has the potential to help investigators identify pathological mechanisms of Alzheimer disease.

“We believe [the miniature brain model] provides a powerful model to test the disease-modifying drugs for AD, and even related dementias, and it’s timesaving because we can test those drugs very quickly, winning [back] days and weeks, instead of months.”

City of Hope National Medical Center recently announced the development of a miniature brain model that will be used to study sporadic Alzheimer disease (AD), the most common form of the disease. Investigators remain hopeful that the model will help in uncovering the pathological mechanisms of AD, while also offering opportunities to test disease-modifying drugs prior to testing in humans. The model was developed using human-induced pluripotent stem cell technology, straying from standard preclinical research, which often uses animal models.  

Yanhong Shi, PhD, Herbert Horvitz professor in neuroscience, and director, division of stem cell biology research, Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, spoke with NeurologyLive on the mini brain model, which she believes will not only save time and money in terms of drug development, but will also aid in an understanding of genetic and environmental factors that may increase risk of AD and other dementias. 

City of Hope researchers develop miniature brain models to study the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and to test drugs in development. News release. City of Hope. August 2, 2021. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://story.cision.com/r/35x3Bk 
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