Test Tube Brain Grown to Battle Alzheimer's
Current studies reveal that, in the future, test tube brains made from human skin cells could help prevent damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. These miniature organs are being grown in a laboratory by scientists at Aston University in Birmingham. The team at Aston University includes scientists from a wide range of institutions — physicists, stem cell biologists, photonics experts, and neuroscientists.
As of now, these test tube brains are known to grow about 2mm across, and the entire process involves the alteration of human skin cells into stem cells, which are then able to become any other type of cell.
These cells are triggered to develop into neurons. The scientists hope they will be able to use this new form of brain tissue to find the right course of treatment for AD as well as its related dementia. If this treatment turns out to be a success, then, although it may not be able to revoke the memory loss, it would help to stop any further deterioration caused by the disease. One of the professors stated it is kind of like science fiction, wherein neurons are trying to connect and grow together so they can replace certain parts of the brain and, later on, even replace the part that has been damaged.
It is said that if damaged parts of the brain are replaced, one can return to their normal life. This project could potentially bring about a great deal of improvement in hundreds of people. Stem cells have previously been used to develop laboratory-grown brain tissue. The main science behind actual stem cell use as a treatment for certain brain diseases is still in its infancy, and while there are still many technical challenges that have to be overcome, the main question remains whether or not this method would benefit those suffering from dementia.
According to one of the research managers, the ability to take skin cells from an individual and reprogram them to become brain cells has opened up a new array of doors. It will be exciting to see how these cells are grown into brain tissue and then grafted into the brains of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It is still unsure whether this kind of stem cell therapy will actually be useful, or if it will even work.
Currently, Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease; medications and therapy are only helpful in providing relief from its symptoms. There are various modes of support available to help individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s so they may live with as much independence as possible. Test tube-related structures such as these laboratory-grown brains are a promising aspect in the field of healthcare and provide hope to millions of people enduring this mental disorder.