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Midbrain Organoid Generation for PD Modeling

While recent studies have demonstrated the generation of human pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived midbrain organoids that display structural and functional features of the midbrain, multiple issues currently hinder clinical translation. Now, a new STEM CELLS article from the laboratory of Dong Wook Han (Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China) describes a novel strategy for the robust generation of homogeneous midbrain organoids using a specific combination of dual SMAD inhibitors and a WNT gradient. Kwak et al. establish that midbrain organoids generated by this optimized protocol display a structural and functional maturity on a par with the developing midbrain. Overall, the authors believe that PSC-derived midbrain organoids may facilitate in vitro disease modeling of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.