Brain tissue is the most difficult type of organic matter to create in a lab setting, typically lasting for less than a day before dying; however the new bioengineered brain tissue from researchers at Tufts has remained viable for several weeks and develops complex neuronal activity that mimics living brain tissue. It even organized itself into brain-like structures and created distinct grey and white brain matter, as detailed in their report “Bioengineered functional brain-like cortical tissue”, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
…Under close examination, the 3D brain matter showed the same sorts of electrical activity that a fully functional brain would show. This made it possible for the researchers to carry out several experiments intended to examine how the brain reacted to different sorts of drugs. They also caused damage to the tissue,to mimic a traumatic brain injury. Altogether, these experiments were intended to compare their results to similar experiments carried out with animal brains. Early results showed promising similarities between both experiments, meaning that their bioengineered tissue could create a viable alternative to the use of animals in these sorts of tests.
With lab-created brain matter this complex and viable for such a long period of time, the researchers are able to follow the tissue response to the initial damage over time, as well as how the matter begins to repair and reconstruct itself after injury. This could drastically improve the amount of information we are able to learn about how the brain reacts after receiving damage, and hopefully lead to new advancements on reversing traumatic brain injury….
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