It is the first complete lab-grown brain ever conceived and the equivalent of a five week old fetus brain. The brain is fully functional in theory, but it’s lacking consciousness, mainly because there’s not much things one organ can do by its own. The team of scientists hopes that this cutting edge feat will prove to be beneficial for health research and testing of experimental drugs, as it provides accurate and significantly more options for testing medicine than rodent brains.
This reproduction of the human brain was produced from stem skin cells, that after maturing for around 5 months become pluripotent and can be set up to grown into any organ of the human body, as the name suggests.
Thanks to this brain, scientists can now detect what are the genetic factors that might give rise to autism, down syndrome or post-traumatic stress disorders. The team behind the project is confident that their lab-grown brain could fine tune our understanding of neurology.
The first brain of this type was of the size of a matchbox, and was engineered from human cells as well. The Ohio researchers assure as that the brain is for all intents and purposes a perfect replica of the foetal brain. An artificial heart and vascular system is needed in order for the brain to completely mature, says Pofessor Anand, something he cannot produce for the time being.
Professor Anand has a long history in neuroscience research, he and his colleagues have developed brain reproductions of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease in dishes. His team is not the only group of researchers that are attempting to recreate the complexity of the human brain for experimentation purposes.
High-resolution scans of the foetal organ have spotted functional neurons and chemical extensions, as well as dendrites and astrocytes. The process lasted for about 15 weeks, during which Anand had detected these maturation changes.
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