SCIENTISTS have controversially yet
successfully grown part of a human brain inside a
mouse and the organ even managed to survive for
months in a major scientific breakthrough.
For the first ever time miniature
human brains have grown in a new species and
scientists have suggested the breakthrough could
help with stem cell research.
Scientists created the pin-sized
human brains from stem cells and then placed them
inside the skulls of mice, where a piece of tissue
had been removed to make room for the new organ.
Of the test mice, roughly 80 percent
survived the operation, and within two weeks the
rodents' implants had been successfully received and
were even spawning new neurons.
The brain implants survived for an
average of 233 days, but began the process of dying
Lead researcher Fred Gage, a
neuroscientist at the Salk Institute, said:
"In our hands, the organoids stop growing around
"It's a function of size rather than
time. We see some cell death even in the edge of the
organoids starting at 10 weeks, which becomes really
dramatic over time.
"This is an obvious hurdle for
Abed Al-Fattah Mansour, a research
associate at the Salk Institute, said:
"That was a big accomplishment."
"We saw infiltration of blood vessels
into the organoid and supplying it with blood, which
was exciting because it's perhaps the ticket for
organoids' long-term survival."
In this exercise, the scientists
accomplished three things -
installing an organoid into a complex
tissue environment, connecting it to the species and
integrating it into the cardiovascular system of the
The researchers say the breakthrough
could one day help with repairing organs such as
brains from stem cells.
"We hope this technology will set the
stage and help to understand the pathogenesis of
neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric and
neurodegenerative disorders by enabling the
generation of brain organoids from patients' own
stem cells, transplanted into rodents."