Fredagskollokvium: Judith Staerk: Induced pluripotent stem cells as tool to study blood diseases in vitro
Judith Staerk, Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway.
One of the major challenges of today’s healthcare is to understand the molecular cause for the onset and progression of a disease and to provide personalized therapy to efficiently cure a malignancy in a patient-specific manner. Primary patient samples are a valuable resource to develop such approaches, but their use is often restricted by limited amounts of primary cells available from each patient. This limitation can be overcome by somatic cell reprogramming, which allows the generation of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) that can be expanded and differentiated into disease-relevant cell types, which can subsequently be used for multifactorial analyses. Moreover, because iPSC provide an unlimited source of patient material, it represents a valuable tool for drug screening. My lab is particularly interested in studying myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of clonal blood disorders in the age group above 50 that is characterized by impaired blood cell differentiation and a predisposition to transformation to acute myeloid leukemia. The cellular processes affected by these mutations remain poorly understood. We will use iPSC as tool to study blood cell types relevant for MDS pathogenesis (e.g. blood progenitors and monocytes) in order to investigate molecular processes relevant for onset and progression of impaired hematopoietic development observed in MDS.