3D Mini Brains Could be Used to Study Brain Disease

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

3D Brain Model

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have developed 3D mini brains that can mimic some of the human brain’s structure and functionality and can be used to study the Alzheimer’s disease and autism.

Scientists believe these mini brains that are derived from the human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are more convenient for studying than mice derived brains. One of the main reasons behind this is that about 95% of the drugs that look promising when tested on animal models become useless once they are tested on humans.

The balls of the brain cells that grow and form brain–like structures on their own over the course of eight weeks are very small, about 350 micrometers in diameter or about the size of a housefly. "While rodent models have been useful, we are not 150–pound rats. And even though we are not balls of cells either, you can often get much better information from these balls of cells than from the rodents," said Thomas Hartung from Johns Hopkins University.

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