“Disease in a dish” is a cutting-edge strategy in which stem cell research is used to model diseases outside the human body, providing a personalized platform to better understand the disease and test new treatments. Initially, this approach used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which are embryonic-like stem cells derived from adult cells. With this technique, isolated cells from patients can be differentiated to a designed lineage to mimic the corresponding disease. Moreover, this technique bypasses the limitations of traditional approaches such as cell lines and transgenic animal models, which cannot cope with complex disease-inducing factors, including the genetics of the patient and environmental and epigenetic factors.
One of the key goals in the HCEMM “disease in a dish” cross-cutting platform is to exceed the original “disease in a dish” concept and to expand its scope. Our revisited, cross-cutting platform aims to uncover the molecular mechanism of diseases of interest by developing in vitro disease models, using single-cell approaches, assessing intercellular communication networks and environmental factors (e.g stressors), and identifying pathophysiological regulatory patterns and matrices. This novel technological approach will strengthen the research activities carried out in the frame of the three thematic pillars, especially from a molecular and translational point of view, which are the prerequisites of modern molecular medicine.