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Can We Harvest Human Brain Cell in the Lab? - Avens Blog | Avens Blog

Can We Harvest Human Brain Cell in the Lab?

When scientist find new potential drug, they should be tested on human cells to confirm that they can help patients. Since in past studies, these tests have been done in a cancer cell, which doesn’t match the biology of human brain cells. Because the condition is that brain cells can’t survive in a place which is away from actual the person, so we need to engineer human cells in the lab, “but it’s not as simple as it sounds” said by few researchers.

Many researchers use induced pleuripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to address this controversy. These iPSCs are made by reprogramming skin cells to become stem cells, later which can be transformed into any type of cells in the body. Scientist used these iPSCs to produce brain cells like neurons, since they are related to neurodegenerative disease.

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iPSCs which are derived from human brain cells offers a great potential for drug screening. Yet, the process of producing iPSCs can be complicated and expensive. Many of the current methods produce cells resulting with heterogeneous or different cells, this can be leads to improper results in drug screening, and also production of huge number of cells is costly.

To overcome these issues, a new technique is identified by scientist which is a simple and better control approach, we might be able to improve the way we engineer human brain cells in the lab, which was truly motivated by its initial results, and the ability to produce homogeneous human brain cells was achieved with this approach.
The technique is further improvised by scientists to create a simplified, two step process. This technique allows scientists to precisely control how many brain cells they produce and makes it easier to replicate their results from one experiment to the next. This technique also greatly accelerates the process. Normally it would takes several months to produce brain cells, by the newly developed technique can now engineer large quantities of them within 1 or 2 weeks, and have functionally active neurons within 1 month. Researchers realized this new approach had tremendous potential to screen drugs and to study disease mechanisms. To prove it, they tested it on their own research. And showed that one can engineer large quantities of human brain cells that are all the same, even the cost is also significantly very less. It means this technology can easily be scaled up and can essentially be used to screen millions of compounds.

Journal of Transplantation & Stem Cell Biology

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