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Bioengineers Create 3-D Brain-Like Tissue to Study Drug Response, Effects of Injury

By John Lugo featured image Courtesy Tufts University

Researchers at Tufts University in Boston have created a 3-D brain-like tissue that is more similar to an actual rat brain and lasts longer than current tissues.

The tissue, which was created with silk and collagen-based gel, will be used to study how the brain changes following traumatic injury as well as in response to drugs. Researchers will also use it to help develop brain dysfunction treatment. Typically, the neurons in tissue models begin breaking down after 24 hours, but the neurons in this new tissue can last up to five weeks, and the tissue itself can be kept alive for more than two months.

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) funded the research.

“Good models enable solid hypotheses that can be thoroughly tested,” said Rosemarie Hunziker, program director of tissue engineering at NIBIB. “The hope is that use of this model could lead to an acceleration of therapies for brain dysfunction as well as offer a better way to study normal brain physiology.”