Stem cells in drug discovery, toxicity testing, and disease modelling
Stem cell research has the potential to improve and accelerate drug screening, drug discovery, and pre-clinical toxicological assessment of new drugs. Controlled differentiation of human pluripotent cells and/or ex vivo expansion of human tissue stem cells could produce unlimited supplies of defined human cell types. Once developed, this technology should permit screening of more compounds in shorter time and at less expense than is currently possible. Additionally, as it will allow primary screens to be conducted on human cells, it may reduce the number of promising drugs that fail in late phase II/III clinical trials because of unexpected differences between animals and humans, as well as the number of animal tests needed.