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A team of scientists used a new laser technique to 3D-print living brain cells from mice in the laboratory.
According to research published in Micromachines, most of the neurons survived for more than two days. This makes them useful tools for preclinical research.
Although the possibility of printing living neurons might conjure up images that could be used to transplant cells damaged by brain injury or other neurodegenerative diseases, scientists behind the research explained in a press release that this is not what they were trying to achieve.
People jump to conclusions when discussing bioprinting. Concordia University graduate student Hamid Orimi, coauthor of the study, stated in the release that they believe we can print organs and other human parts for transplants. This is a long-term goal, but we are still far from it. There are many other ways you can use this technology.
Although the goal is not neuron transplants in any way, the team hopes that the 3D printed brain cells they create will be useful in the clinic and improve medical research. Orimi stated that the goal is to eventually print and experiment on human neurons, replacing animal models in pharmaceutical testing.
This would not only reduce the number animals that are killed for science but also allow preclinical research to be more precise. Doctors could test experimental drugs on human tissue that has been lab-printed. This would give them a better idea about how effective the drugs work than if they tested on mice or other animals. Treatments that work well on one species don't always work well on others.
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