• The work by Florian Merkle, Kevin Eggan, Alex Schier, and colleagues provides researchers, for the first time, with live hypothalamic neurons to use as targets for drug discovery and therapeutic cell-transplantation efforts for conditions related to stress, reproduction, puberty, and immune function, as hypothalamic neurons are often involved in those diseases as well.
  • In his self-patterning approach, Merkle put 5,000 stem cells in a dish amid an environment conducive to survival and left them alone. Within a day, the cells would aggregate and “communicate with each other” to plan which stem cells would differentiate into which neural progenitors.
  • Researchers could use these new tools to grow hypothalamic neurons from patients with a specific disease. Studying the development and death from those neurons could provide researchers with the information necessarily to understand a disease’s origins.

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