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Drug Tests and Neurology Treatment to be done on Mini-Brains Developed by John Hopkins University

Update Date: Feb 15, 2016 05:24 PM EST

Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University developed tiny brain replicas to get deeper into the neurological diseases and its study. Many believe that this unique innovation will allow the scientists to get better understanding of neurological diseases and also develop their cures.

In collaboration with several medical researchers across the country, a "mini-brain" was cultured in the lab. It is still at a nascent stage in the field of scientific inquiry but could help revolutionize how new drugs are tested by testing them on human cells rather than the lab animals. This process will provide more accurate results and also help develop the new and more effective drugs. The scientists reengineered human skin cell genes to make them similar to embryonic stem cells, the cells that can develop into any kind of tissue. These stem cells were then trained and cultivated to become brain cells. This phenomenal work was presented by the researchers on Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C, reported Maine News Online

"We believe that the future of brain research will include less reliance on animals, more reliance on human cell-based models," said study leader Thomas Hartung, professor of health sciences at the Bloomberg School.

Hartung also said that 95% of the drugs fail on human models even if they looked promising when tested on animals. As a result, lot of time and money is wasted on failed human tests. If successful, mini-brains can help develop cure for conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, stroke, infection etc, says Tampa Bay Review

Hartung is already in the process of applying for a patent so that he can develop these mini-brains commercially. He added, "We don't have the first brain model, nor are we claiming to have the best one. But this is the most standardized one. And when testing drugs, it is imperative that the cells being studied are as similar as possible to ensure the most comparable and accurate results," Baltimore Sun reports

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