Review

Embryonic stem cell application in drug discovery

Authors: Yi-jia Lou, Xing-guang Liang
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2010.194

Abstract

Embryonic stem (ES) cells and their differentiated progeny offer tremendous potential for regenerative medicine, even in the field of drug discovery. There is an urgent need for clinically relevant assays that make use of ES cells because of their rich biological utility. Attention has been focused on small molecules that allow the precise manipulation of cells in vitro, which could allow researchers to obtain homogeneous cell types for cell-based therapies and discover drugs for stimulating the regeneration of endogenous cells. Such therapeutics can act on target cells or their niches in vivo to promote cell survival, proliferation, differentiation, and homing. In the present paper, we reviewed the use of ES cell models for high-throughput/content drug screening and toxicity assessment. In addition, we examined the role of stem cells in large pharmaceutical companies' R&D and discussed a novel subject, nicheology, in stem cell-related research fields.
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