Meeting Report: Using Stem Cells for Biological and Therapeutics Discovery in Mental Illness, April 2012

Panchision, D.M.

This report synthesizes the discussions during a workshop convened April 24–25, 2012, by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Foundation for the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, that focused on progress and challenges in the use of patient-derived reprogrammed cells for basic biological discovery, target identification, screening, and drug development for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism spectrum disorders. The workshop revealed that the greatest progress has been made in reprogramming methods and agreed-upon standards for validating the resulting induced pluripotent stem cell lines. However, challenges remain in several areas, including efficiently generating and validating specific neural cell types with respect to regional identity, establishing assays with predictive validity to mental illness pathophysiology, and generating sufficient statistical power and data reproducibility across laboratories. A brainstorming session yielded a number of suggestions, including calls to (a) facilitate the replication of results by standardizing protocols and samples used across laboratories; (b) improve technology by generating cheaper/faster targeting methods, reporters, and assays; and (c) improve resource sharing and collaboration, with an emphasis on rapid sharing of new cell lines, technologies, and best practices, possibly incorporated into a public-private partnership. The meeting provided an important venue for academic, government, and private sector scientists to address potential opportunities for translational and clinical applications of reprogrammed cell research. A number of activities since the workshop have reflected the feedback from meeting participants.


Panchision, D.M. "Meeting Report: Using Stem Cells for Biological and Therapeutics Discovery in Mental Illness, April 2012" Stem Cells Translational Medicine (2013): 217–22