Contribute Try STAT+ Today

The dream of using brain organoids to repair actual human brains has taken a baby step closer to reality: Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have coaxed their tiny, three-dimensional organoids to produce functional neurons with long axons and dendrites — the gray and white matter, respectively — plucked them out, and grew them into fat bundles that might be transplanted into a broken brain.

The scientists, led by neurosurgeon Isaac Chen, have not taken that final step, according to the draft of their study posted on Thursday to bioRxiv, which publishes papers before they have been peer-reviewed, let alone appeared in a scientific journal. But the goal of using cerebral organoids to repair damaged brains has been driving Chen’s research, including when he implanted human cerebral organoids 2 millimeters in diameter into rat brains. The transplanted human tissue became functionally integrated with the rat’s, suggesting that bits of organoid transplanted into a human brain might do the same.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

GET STARTED

What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.

Your daily dose of news in health and medicine

Privacy Policy