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Wake Forest researchers create advanced brain organoid to model strokes, screen drugs

Anthony Atala | Via EurekAlert | May 29, 2018

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) scientists have developed a 3-D brain organoid that could have potential applications in drug discovery and disease modeling. This is the first engineered tissue equivalent to closely resemble normal human brain anatomy, containing all six major cell types found in normal organs including, neurons and immune cells.

In a study published this month in Scientific Reports, the researchers report that their advanced 3-D organoids promote the formation of a fully cell-based, natural and functional barrier – the blood brain barrier – that mimics normal human anatomy.

The blood brain barrier is a semipermeable membrane that separates the circulating blood from the brain, protecting it from foreign substances that could cause injury. This development is important because the model can help to further understanding of disease mechanisms at the blood brain barrier, the passage of drugs through the barrier, and the effects of drugs once they cross the barrier.

“The shortage of effective therapies and low success rate of investigational drugs are due in part because we do not have a human-like tissue models for testing,” said senior author Anthony Atala, M.D., director of WFIRM. “The development of tissue engineered 3D brain tissue equivalents such as these can help advance the science toward better treatments and improve patients’ lives… Continue reading.

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