Using a 3-D printer, transparencies, and binder clips, these wunderkinder can create neural tissues that mimic the cellular proportions and relationships of real, living brains.
On this basis, here are some possibilities discussed in the article:
- Watch how brain tissue responds under different circumstances, leading to new understanding of brain growth, disease progression and structure-dependent brain abnormalities.
- Repair damaged brain tissue. With historic rates of traumatic brain injury in the most productive age group, this alone is world-changing.
- With samples from patients, custom brain cultures can be grown, and drugs tested against them, targeting drug treatment that works on the first trial. This saves people who need CNS-affecting drugs countless weeks and months — even years — of untold misery, as different drugs get pushed through their systems in an effort to find one that works.
Harvard Med and MIT at their collective finest.
The great challenge, of course, is getting this OUT of the lab and INTO the populations that need it. I hope it’s not kyboshed by those whose profits depend on the current ineffective, inefficient, expensive, and unspeakably brutal systems of CNS treatment.
Let good medicine prevail.