Is This Franken-Brain Capable of Thought?
Ohio State Scientists have revealed that the first ever lab-grown brain is nearly complete. This would mean a great breakthrough in science and medicine.
For decades, the best scientists of our time have ceaselessly searched for the possible cures for various neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and autism, but to no avail.
With the success of a lab-grown brain, researchers will have a clearer insight of how the brain works as well as a way to test and observe the reasons why neurological diseases occur and the possible ways to treat them.
photo from huffingtonpost.com
The brain organoid, if licensed for commercial lab use, could help speed research for neurological diseases and disorders, like Alzheimer’s and autism, Rene Anand, an Ohio State professor who worked on the project, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We will have [a] more precise prediction of efficacy of therapy and possible side effects before we do clinical trials,” Anand told The Huffington Post via email, explaining how his model is a more ethical alternative to trials that use rodent specimens. Anand said reducing the use of animals improves research as they’re “not as likely to predict clinical outcomes as human brain models.”
The brain, engineered from adult human skin cells and grown in a dish for 15 weeks, is about the size of a pencil eraser, according to the university. It has the maturity of a 5-week-old fetal brain, and contains 99 percent of the genes in a fully developed human fetal brain.
“If we let it go to 16 or 20 weeks, that might complete it, filling in that 1 percent of missing genes,” Anand said. “We don’t know yet.”
Anand acknowledged in the university’s statement that “other groups are attempting to do this as well.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Anand said ethical issues weren’t a concern. “We don’t have any sensory stimuli entering the brain. This brain is not thinking in any way.”
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