Developmental neurotoxicity screening using human embryonic stem cells
Research in the area of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, along with neuroscience, will further our understanding of drug-induced death of neurons during their development. With the development of an in vitro model of stem cell-derived human neural cell lines investigators can, under control conditions and during intense neuronal growth, examine molecular mechanisms of various drugs and conditions on early developmental neuroapoptosis in humans. If the use of this model will lead to fewer risks, or identification of drugs and anesthetics that are less likely to cause the death of neurons, this approach will be a major stride toward assuring the safety of drugs during the brain development. The ultimate goal would be not only to find the trigger for the catastrophic chain of events, but also to prevent neuronal cell death itself.