"Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported on 5 February a new method to screen for antimalarial drugs and vaccines (Stem Cell Rep., doi.org/10.1016/j. stemcr.2015.01.002, 2015). The researchers infected human liver cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with various malaria parasites to model liver-stage malaria, the stage at which the parasites mature and reproduce. When the cells were exposed to two medicines, atovaquone and primaquin, in small quantities, the scientists found the cells to be sensitive to both antimalarials. Currently, a limited supply of donor liver cells and a lack of genetic diversity within these cells limits screening for antimalarials, so this new method allows for more individualized testing. “The use of iPSC-derived liver cells to model liver-stage malaria in a dish opens the door to study the influence of host genetics on antimalarial drug efficacy and lays the foundation for their use in antimalarial drug discovery,” senior study author Sangeeta Bhatia said in a press release. "