NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Kristen Brennand at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published her latest research using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to study psychosis in Stem Cell Reports. When deriving iPS cells from two patients, each with a psychotic disorder, the scientific team serendipitously generated a non-disease-carrier control iPS cell line. This finding highlights a problem scientists face when using iPS cells for disease modeling, particularly in patients with complex genomic rearrangements.
While iPS cell lines are emerging as a go-to technology to model human disease, this paper provides evidence that scientists should use caution while doing so. Ideally, scientists would confirm that the mutations they are studying are present at every step in the process of creating iPS cell lines; however, this is difficult and sometimes impossible using current techniques. This finding sheds light on an important area of inquiry in stem cell research, and provides an impetus to identify new methos of deriving iPS cell lines with specific genetic mutations.