Human 'brains' made from skin cells could help fight Alzheimer's
09 August 2017
British scientists are creating miniature human brains made from human skin cells that may be able to halt the damage caused by Alzheimer's disease in the future.
The process involves transforming skin cells into neurons, which are then 3D printed into structures resembling the brain. The treatment, if successful, would not only be able to reverse memory loss that has already occurred but also stop it from further breaking down.
The research was carried out at the Aston University in Birmingham, with the scientists hoping to use the artificially created structures to test treatment methods for dementia and speed up drug development to fight it.
According to the researchers, the micro brains are genetically altering skin cells, which cause them to revert to stem cells that are capable of becoming any type of cell.They are then triggered into growing into neurons.
The work may eventually allow the team to grow replacement brain parts for transplanting into Alzheimer's patients.
Professor Edik Rafalov, who is a part of the study, told The Telegraph that they ate trying to help neurons to connect and grow together so that they can replace parts of the brain damaged by dementia.
Dementia is a progressive neurological disease which affects multiple brain functions, including memory.