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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Australian scientists create 3D-printed brain-like tissue from stem cells

July 25,  2017



Australian scientists have used a 3D printer to create nerve cells found in the brain using a special bio-ink made from stem cells.

Key points:

  • Stem cells from adult cells used to make "bio-ink"
  • Bio-ink printed into 3D scaffold and then stem cells turned into nerve cells found in the brain
  • Process could be used in the future to make replacement brain tissue from patient's own skin cells
The research takes us a step closer to making replacement brain tissue derived from a patient's own skin or blood cells to help treat conditions such as brain injury, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and schizophrenia.
The bio-ink is made of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which have the same power as embryonic stem cells to turn into any cell in the body, and possibly form replacement body tissues and even whole organs.
Jeremy Crook, who led the research, said the ability to customise brain tissue from a person's own body tissue was better for transplantation.
"That circumvents issues of immune rejection, which is common in organ transplantation," said Dr Crook, from the University of Wollongong and ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.


Correcting chemical imbalances

Dr Crook said many neuropsychiatric disorders result from an imbalance of key chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are produced by specific nerve cells in the brain.
For example, he said, defective serotonin and GABA-producing nerve cells are implicated in schizophrenia and epilepsy while defective dopamine-producing cells are implicated in Parkinson's disease.
The team used 3D printing to make neurones involved in producing GABA and serotonin, as well as support cells called neuroglia, they reported in the journal Advanced Healthcare Material
In the future, they plan to print neurones that produce dopamine.


"That's absolutely achievable."
To make the neurones, Dr Crook and colleagues used their bio-ink to print layers of a hatched pattern to create a 5 millimetre-sized cube. 
See video:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-07-26/scientists-create-3d-printed-brain-like-tissue-from-stem-cells/8740794#lightbox-content-lightbox-9


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