TECH

Almost Fully-Formed Human Brain Grown In Ohio State University Lab Could Further Alzheimer's And Autism Research

19/08/2015 11:59 BST

Scientists have grown an almost fully-formed brain in the lab that has the maturity of a 5-week-old fetus.

Formed from skin cells it is estimated to be around the size of a pencil eraser.

A team from Ohio State University say the organoid could help further research around neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's And Autism.

brain

Rene Anand, professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology, who lead the research team said in a statement:

"The power of this brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than rodents.”

Anand and his team claim the brain has 99% of the genes present in the human fetal brain as well as "a spinal cord, all major regions of the brain, multiple cell types, signalling circuitry and even a retina."

“If we let it go to 16 or 20 weeks, that might complete it, filling in that 1 percent of missing genes. We don’t know yet,” he said.

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On Tuesday, the research was presented at the 2015 Military Health System Research Symposium but the scientific community remains cautiously optimistic about the findings.

Zameel Cader, a consultant neurologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford told The Guardian: “When someone makes such an extraordinary claim as this, you have to be cautious until they are willing to reveal their data.”

Anand and his team believe that if the brain was further developed to have a blood supply, it could be used to for stroke therapy studies.