“Village” Approach to Transform Stem Cell Research; Powerful New Stem Cell Technique Has Enabled Large-Scale Studies of Relationship Between Human Genetics and Biology

Studying stem cell samples from hundreds of individuals in the same culture dish, using a method developed at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Sydney, Australia), could have transformative potential for personalized treatments and the study of complex human traits. Stem cells can develop into many different cell types in the body and allow scientists to study diseases and test drugs in human cells. A major hurdle, though, is the expense and time required because these studies call for samples from hundreds--or even thousands--of donors. The Garvan team’s innovative “village in a dish” system can accelerate this research by growing and studying stem cells from large numbers of donors simultaneously, in the same culture dish, making studies up to 100 times more efficient.

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