Lifestyle / Tech

Scientists are growing tiny brains in 3D-printed reactors

www.independent.co.uk
2 min read
fairly difficult
This new technology could make it easier to explore how human organoids react to pathogens like the coronavirus
Scientists are growing miniscule amounts of brain tissue in 3D-printed systems, allowing them to watch them grow and develop on a tiny scale.

The organoids were grown from human cells over the course of a week, where a small but if brain tissue developed a cavity surrounded by a self-organising structure similar to a developing neocortex – the part of the brain used for motor commands, spatial reasoning and language.

The technology that has made this development possible is 'microfluidics', where nutrients can be delivered through minute tubes connected to a chip.

Compared to mainstream methods, this new system has numerous benefits: growing organic material in commercial culture dishes are is costly, and the dishes are only compatible with specific microscopes. Moreover, scientists are unable to let nutrients flow through them to help the tissue grow.

Microfluidics, however, are expensive to buy and challenging to make – and what makes 3D-printing such an attractive alternative. New…
Adam Smith
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