Oxford researchers apply 3D printing in the repair of brain injuries, says 3DPrinting.com.


Oxford Scientists Make Groundbreaking Progress in 3D Printing Neural Cells

Brain injuries can be devastating, affecting a person’s cognitive abilities, movement, and communication. With no effective treatments for severe cases, the search for innovative solutions has been underway for years. Now, researchers from the University of Oxford have made a significant breakthrough in the field of brain injury repair.

Using a 3D printing technique, the team at Oxford has successfully created neural cells that closely resemble the architecture of the cerebral cortex. This groundbreaking development, published in Nature Communications, offers promising implications for the treatment of brain injuries.

The researchers utilized human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to create a two-layered brain tissue that mimics the structure of the cerebral cortex. By using specific growth factors and chemicals, the hiPSCs were transformed into neural progenitor cells, specifically for the cerebral cortex. These cells were then combined with two bioinks, which were used for 3D printing.

Upon printing, the tissues retained their structure for several weeks, indicating the potential for long-term viability. To test the functionality of the printed tissues, they were implanted into mouse brain slices. The results were impressive, demonstrating structural and functional integration with the existing brain tissue.

Professor Zoltán Molnár, who led the research, emphasized the complex nature of human brain development. He acknowledged that recreating the entire process in a laboratory setting is unrealistic. However, the success of this 3D printing project showcases significant progress in controlling the growth and arrangement of human iPSCs to create functional units of the cerebral cortex.

Building on this achievement, the researchers aim to further refine the printing method to produce more intricate and multi-layered cerebral cortex tissues. Aside from their potential in brain injury repairs, these tissues could also be valuable in drug evaluations, brain development studies, and improving our understanding of cognition.

The implications of this research are immense. With over 70 million people experiencing traumatic brain injuries each year, finding effective treatments is crucial. The ability to 3D print neural cells opens up a world of possibilities for regenerative medicine and neuroscience.

As this technology continues to evolve, it has the potential to revolutionize the field of medicine. Brain injuries, once considered irreparable, may one day be treated using 3D printing techniques. The road ahead is still long, but this breakthrough brings us one step closer to a future where brain injuries are no longer permanent and debilitating.

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Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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