An astounding leap in neurological scientific research is in progress, courtesy of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in the form of the creation of “mini-brains” comprised of human brain cells. Although microscopic – about the size of a housefly’s eye – the impact for research is poised to be astronomical.
Grown in a petri dish and easily replicable on a large scale (hundreds of thousands of copies per batch), the intention of these tiny cell compilations is to more effectively study and test pharmaceuticals on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s, and potentially autism, eventually taking the place of current animal studies.
According to Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, leading the study, “95 percent of drugs that look promising when tested in animal models fail once they are tested in humans, and at great expense of time and money. 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 rodents.”
We’re excited to watch as these developments progress, and for the new possibilities that could soon open up for those battling neurological conditions!
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