Drug screening and induced pluripotent stem cells are still fairly new components in the scientific world but continue to expand as more research is being conducted. Just in 2006 induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) branched off of embryonic stem cells that were discovered in 1998 (6) and since iPSCs lack ethical issues, they have been used to differentiate from stem cells such as from a diseased patient to motor neurons. But are these reprogrammed differentiated cells as reliable as embryonic cells or primary cells dissected out of an infected mouse such as the dorsal root ganglions or Purkinje cells? As there is more to understand about that topic, it is also interesting to explore what exactly to do with iPSCs once they are available which leads into treatment methods. Drug screenings are an effective and fast method for testing multiple drugs with different cells in a short time to find which drug has the greatest change but is that the best method to take. Overall, drug screening on induced pluripotent stem cells is an effective form of a method for treatment.
1.What is an iPSC?
In 1981 the first mouse embryonic stem cell was created using a mouse model and more than fifteen years later the first human embryonic stem cell was cultured (10). But this form of research has raised ethical issues since this is the beginning of human life and in 2001 a federal funding halt to human embryonic research occurred which then lead to researchers finding new ways to create similar stem cells (9). And in 2006 a team of researchers created induced pluripotent stem cells using a mouse model (11). Just a year later the same group and another team of researchers were both able to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) (11). But what is an iPSCs? To break it down, it is best to start with stem cell. A stem cell is defined as, Cells with the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialized cells (12), hence the importance of using these cell types. Now the embryonic stem cells are different from somatic in which it all starts at the embryonic stage where the cells can divide continuously until ready to make a differentiation unlike somatic cells that are more limited (12). Now here is where the problem lays, embryonic stem cells are unavailable to use due being unethical yet somatic stem cells are rare and limited in use until Chin et al’s research group was able to take somatic cells and reprogram them to be embryonic-like stem cells. The significant problem is how closely related are the IPSCs to the embryonic stem cells and if it is able to take their place in forms of research.
2. Details on drug screenings
Around a century ago, drugs have begun to be tested and ever since that research has expanded and will continue to grow (6). There is a lot of history on drug research but one experiment that has saved a lot of time and money has been using a drug screening called high-throughput screening which is defined as, Screening (of a compound collection) to identify hits in an in vitroassay, usually performed robotically in 384-well microtitre plates (5). Since 384-well microtiter plates require little amounts of media, chemicals, cells, and drugs, this gives a higher chance to test more compounds at once. After testing thousands of drugs, some number of compounds should have a meaningful effect on the cells and are referred to as hits or leads (5). Further testing on the hits can possibly lead to finding a compound that benefits the human race which is the end goal.
Arguments for the Hypothesis
Even though primary animal dissected cells might seem the best way to obtain cells for culturing purposes, they will come from an animal instead of a human which jumps into the human versus animal models for cell culturing. Before jumping right into clinical trials and even animal trials, the first step to test any type of drug or experiment is to test it out on a dish with living cells. Certain cells, such as motor neurons or Purkinje cells are unable to obtain from a human-beings especially with a rare disease such as Ataxia telangiectasia (AT). Using this specific disease, it is a great way to prove iPSCs are a better technique to obtain cells than using animal cells with that similar mutation. Within Gilmore et al.’s paper (1), there was a comparison done between the animal model and the iPSCs. The Purkinje cells and the dorsal root ganglion cells in the mouse had similar results to the human cells from iPSCs, found in figure 1 (1).