Neuro­de­gen­er­at­ive diseases

By

Neuro­de­gen­er­at­ive diseases

The term neuro­de­gen­er­a­tion refers to the pro­gress­ive loss of neur­onal struc­tures and func­tions, ulti­mately lead­ing to cog­nit­ive dis­ab­il­ity and demen­tia. Alzheimer’s dis­ease is the most com­mon form of demen­tia and affects mil­lions of people world­wide. Cur­rently, there are no cur­at­ive ther­apies. There­fore, the search is on world­wide for new treat­ment strategies. Cer­tain immune cells of the brain, which in their entirety are also called microglia, appear to be par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing. Some vari­ants in microglial genes sig­ni­fic­antly increase the risk of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease (risk genes). Animal exper­i­ments are of little help in mak­ing pro­gress here, because the microglia of com­mon labor­at­ory anim­als and of humans dif­fer too much. There­fore, there is a great need for human dis­ease mod­els to study both neuro­de­gen­er­at­ive dis­eases and microglial bio­logy in the con­text of healthy age­ing. Recent tech­no­lo­gical advances in gen­er­at­ing human microglia from induced pluri­po­tent stem cells are finally mak­ing this cell type access­ible for test­ing new therapies.

At ISAR Bioscience, we study and manip­u­late the func­tions of microglia and their com­mu­nic­a­tion with neur­ons and astro­cytes. In this way, we hope to identify the mech­an­isms of dis­ease devel­op­ment and find new thera­peutic targets. 

Pub­lic­a­tions