Experimenting on mouse brains just to help us fathom our most complex organ ‘Brain’ could be the thing of the past as scientists have successfully been able to grow human brains tissue in lab using stem cells, for the first time. This tiny brain includes parts of the cortex, hippocampus and even retinas, except the cerebellum region.

Human brains are very different from those of animals, its complexity has made it difficult to study many brain disorders in model organisms and experimenting on animal brains only gives a plain detail about human brain process. Scientists believe this 3D tissue structure will help them better understand the early stages of human brain development and activity in unprecedented detail.

“Mouse models don’t cut it,” says Juergen Knoblich at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Vienna, Austria.

To grow this tissue, Knoblich and colleagues took induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and gave them a mix of nutrients essential for development of the brain. The stem cells first differentiated into neuroectoderm tissue and later on, it was suspended in a gel scaffold to help it develop a 3D structure.

“If you provide the right nutrients, they have amazing capacity to self-organise,” says team member Madeline Lancaster. So, it’s likely to grow on its own immaculately if it’s given right amount of nutrients.

The researchers detected neural activity using imaging techniques – as indicated in the video.

Video Credit: NewScientist

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