NOV 22, 2017 05:51 AM PST

Brain Organoids Implanted in Lab Rats

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So, let's say you want to write the next science fiction blockbuster. Wouldn't a lab create miniature human brain being implanted into a lab rat be a great story? Well, it's not a story, it's real. Researchers detailed just such a study at the Society for Neuroscience 2017 meeting in Washington DC earlier this month. Organoids, which is what the Petri dish brains are called, have come a long way. These tiny bits of tissue have the same electrical current as actual brain tissue. Neurons get generated, and in some, layers of cortical tissue have grown. So, fine, there's a brain in a dish. It can't do anything, right?

Two teams of researchers presented their findings to neuroscientists from around the world. They took these organoids and implanted them into lab rats, but they didn't stop there.They connected the blood vessels of the rats to the implanted organoids, which is the first time anyone has attempted vascularization of lab-created organs. The ethical dilemmas are profound in this kind of research, and the technology has outpaced the ability of governing bodies to keep up.
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  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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