Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology have achieved an outstanding breakthrough, as their venture of growing miniature human brains in a laboratory has been a success. Scientists have managed to recreate some of the very first phases of the brain’s development in a laboratory, in an attempt to enhance their knowledge of neurological conditions.
The analysis was initially reviewed in the Nature Journal, and it has been widely used by neuroscientists in comprehensive researches on rare human conditions and diseases. Researchers from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology have outlined the discoveries as fascinating and astounding.
The scientific team approached the phase of developing the neuroectoderm, the embryo component that grown into the brain and the spinal cord, through the use of embryonic stem cells or mature skin cells. Brain cells such as the cerebral cortex and an early hippocampus, managed to grow and divide themselves into distinct areas of the brain. The cells are directly responsible for the full development of an adult brain and its memory functions.
According to researchers, the final stage of their tremendous experiment corresponds to the brain growth in a nine-week old fetus. In this phase, the brain structures evolved are not yet capable of cognitive thinking. The miniature brain is not the foremost achievement of this kind in the scientific field. Scientists generated functional brain cells in a research laboratory in the past, yet this is the furthest they have ever come to developing an operational human brain.
Dr Martin Coath, from Plymouth University, expressed her gratitude towards the breakthrough achieved by the Austrian scientists: “Any technological advancement that offers us ‘something like a brain’ that we can adapt and observe as it grows would surely be exciting.”
According to the authors, the miniature brain grows in a way that imitates the normal human brain development, which could only mean that the potential for researching developmental diseases further is realistic and accurate.