The ‘Mini Brains’ solving medical mysteries and raising concerns
It may seem like science fiction, but over the past decade scientists have been using stem cells to grow so-called “mini brains.” Researchers prefer the term brain organoids, a collection of human cells in a petri dish that mimic the structure and cell types of our own brains. They’ve been used to study diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s, and evaluate potential treatments, but now the research is becoming more sophisticated, and that’s raising big concerns. Could they become conscious? Should we even be experimenting on our own cells? WSJ’s Alex Ossola explores the advantages, and potential issues, as scientists look to use brain organoids to test new medicines or even replace the chips in our computers.
Scientists Grow Human Cells in Rat Brains to Study Autism, Schizophrenia
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Thomas Hartung’s laboratory at Johns Hopkins University
Paola Arlotta’s laboratory at Harvard University
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