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Scientists are Growing Mini Brains to Learn How to Treat Fatal Diseases

According to the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers from the University of Cambridge are growing miniature human brain models to study neurological disorders, like the motor-neuron diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. By sampling a culture of skin cells, reverting them to stem cells and then reprogramming them into specific organs or tissues, researchers can grow organoids that emulate the diseases that they’re studying. In a breakthrough case, scientists have been able to keep a mini brain alive for 240 days, affirming the efficacy of the drug GSK2606414 in treating these types of diseases. This research not only opens pathways to find cures for terminal afflictions, but it will also shrink the amount of time it typically takes to find this treatment—from decades to just a few years. Learn more about the possibilities in making organoids and this life-saving research at The Daily Beast.

Image by Elizabeth Brockway, courtesy of The Daily Beast/Getty

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