First Near-Fully Formed Brain Grown In Lab, Ohio State Scientists Say

Huffington Post – by Kim Bellware

Scientists at Ohio State University say they’ve grown the first near-complete human brain in a lab.

The brain organoid, if licensed for commercial lab use, could help speed research for neurological diseases and disorders, like Alzheimer’s and autism, Rene Anand, an Ohio State professor who worked on the project, said in a statement Tuesday,  

“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 said.

The brain, engineered from adult human skin cells and grown in a dish for 15 weeks, is about the size of a pencil eraser, according to the university. It has the maturity of a 5-week-old fetal brain, and contains 99 percent of the genes in a fully developed human fetal brain.

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

Anand acknowledged in the university’s statement that “other groups are attempting to do this as well.”

In 2013, scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences revealed a lab-grown brain that had the same level of development as in a 9-week-old fetus, but was incapable of thought, according to the BBC.

Anand told The Guardian that unlike the Austrian organoids that only contained specific aspects of the brain, his model has everything except a vascular system: a spinal cord, “all major regions of the brain,” multiple cell types, circuitry and even a retina. Ethical issues weren’t a concern, he added. “We don’t have any sensory stimuli entering the brain. This brain is not thinking in any way.”

Other researchers in the field were skeptical. Anand’s claims haven’t been reviewed by peers. Instead, the feat was announced at the 2015 Military Health System Research Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. (Anand’s team says the brain could have military research implications for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder).

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

Earlier this year, Anand and colleague Susan McKay created an Ohio-based startup with the goal of commercializing the brain organoid platform. As The Guardian notes, Anand has not published details of his brain model due to a pending patent.

13 thoughts on “First Near-Fully Formed Brain Grown In Lab, Ohio State Scientists Say

  1. Get a bunch of them going and then implant them in the heads of congress. We all know they are lacking this organ, as well as the idiots at Ohio State University. The return of the Messiah can’t come quick enough. When will the madness stop?

      1. 🙂 Ryan & I just watched it a couple weeks ago.

        The only other Mel Brooks I own is “Blazing Saddles”, the funniest western ever made, imo.

      2. YEPPPP…:-D First thing in my head, too.

        #1..I hope you’ll have the decency not to tell others we spoke… Outta my way, nigger!

        I am just glad we’re normal and everyone else is f’g nuts!

        1. First time I saw this scene I lost it. Freakin’ hilarious.

          Sad thing is, the sheeple in this country are about as aware as the woman who said “Isn’t anybody going to help that poor man?”

          That’s how I see the majority of them these days.

          1. Couldn’t be more true. They have an onion in their hands and peel off one layer and believe they are looking at the center? I am not claiming to be a rocket surgeon but jeez, it seems the truth should be punching you square in the boo-boo and they still don’t see!

          1. You’re a spun monkey like the rest of us here. A compliment btw. Hoped you’d get a giggle out of a stroll down memory lane! 🙂

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