Experimental treatments have just seen a breakthrough, as the lab-made brain could advance medicine to heights it would have never dare to venture to before. Researchers at the Ohio State University (OSU) have successfully grown a brain from human adult skin cells.
A near flawless 99% of the genes it contained are reflective of a 5-week year old fetus, which could drastically help in advancing research for genetic diseases or other similar brain disorders. Professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology, Rene Anand, claimed that this is the most accurately depicted human brain model existent at the moment.
According to the professor, who is lead author of the study, it looks precisely like the human brain of a fetus and is capable of similar functions, though without the added actual conscience. Meaning that the brain is not capable of thinking or relaying emotions, in spite of the fact that it would be able to complete a set of limited tasks if accompanied by an actual host.
The lab-made brain model is said to have the capability of rolling the non-existent’s fetus eyes, curl its toes, squirm or lightly flex the fingers. At the very least, it would be able to do so from a biological point of view, and not in actual practice.
It’s reportedly the size of a pencil eraser and provides ample functions for future researchers to study. It takes 15 weeks to grow a 5-week old brain of a fetus and replicate a number of complex processes that would make it an accurate study organ. So far, the researchers have allowed it to grow to the point of 12 weeks and are carefully studying the patterns.
According to Anand, allowing and observing the maturation process might further complete the brain model from 99% to a full 100% accuracy of an actual human brain. This astonishing breakthrough could be the proper tool to pave the way for treatments, or hopefully even cures, to crippling diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or autism.
It will allow for riskier experimentation and the use of more dangerous drugs that could never be applied on humans, as it would be too cruel to even test on animals.
It might be precisely what scientists everywhere have need to further the advancement of modern medicine and save millions of people from potentially tragic conditions. It could also aid in gaining a better understanding of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or even Gulf War syndrome.
However, now, the researchers need an artificial heart in order to help with brain development that will naturally aid in its progression. There’s only so much one organ can do by itself, and requires the aid of other vitally important parts in order to depict the most accurate picture for a study specimen.
Image source: news.discovery.com