In a breakthrough research, scientists at The Ohio State University, led by Professor Rene Anand have developed a nearly complete human brain in a laboratory dish that equals the brain maturity of a 5-week-old fetus.
- The lab-grown brain, about the size of a pencil eraser is named as Organoid.
- Organoid is engineered from adult human skin cells and it is the most complete human brain model developed yet.
- It has an identifiable structure and contains 99 percent of the genes present in the human fetal brain.
- Though there is a spinal cord, all major regions of the brain, multiple cell types, signaling circuitry and even a retina, the main thing missing in this model is a vascular system.
- In order to build the replica human brain, the research team had transformed adult skin cells by altering their genes into Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS)
- High-resolution imaging of the brain identifies functioning neurons and their signal-carrying extensions like axons and dendrites as well as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia. The model also activates markers for cells that have the classic excitatory and inhibitory functions in the brain, and that enable chemical signals to travel throughout the structure.
- Such a system will enable ethical and more rapid and accurate testing of experimental drugs before the clinical trial stage and advance studies of genetic and environmental causes of central nervous system disorders.
- It has the potential to dramatically accelerate the pace of neuroscience research.
About the Inventors:
- Rene Anand is a professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State University.
- Anand completed the work with colleague Susan McKay, a research associate in biological chemistry and pharmacology.
- Anand and McKay are co-founders of a Columbus-based start-up company, NeurXstem, to commercialize the brain Organoid platform, and have applied for funding from the federal Small Business Technology Transfer program to accelerate its drug discovery applications.