Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells obtained by reprogramming technology are a source of great hope, not only in terms of applications in regenerative medicine, such as cell transplantation therapy, but also for modeling human diseases and new drug development. In particular, the production of iPS cells from the somatic cells of patients with intractable diseases and their subsequent differentiation into cells at affected sites (e.g., neurons, cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, and myocytes) has permitted the in vitro construction of disease models that contain patient-specific genetic information. For example, disease-specific iPS cells have been established from patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and autism, as well as from those with neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. A multi-omics analysis of neural cells originating from patient-derived iPS cells may thus enable investigators to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of neurological diseases that have heretofore been unknown. In addition, large-scale screening of chemical libraries with disease-specific iPS cells is currently underway and is expected to lead to new drug discovery. Accordingly, this review outlines the progress made via the use of patient-derived iPS cells toward the modeling of neurological disorders, the testing of existing drugs, and the discovery of new drugs.
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