3D-printed stem cells could help treat brain injuries

1 min read

In a scientific first, researchers at theUniversity of Oxford have 3D printed stem cells that can mimic the architecture of the cerebral cortex, the human brain’s outer layer. The technique could potentially be used to treat brain injuries.

Such injuries typically cause significant damage to the cerebral cortex, leading to movement, cognition, and communication challenges. Currently, there’s no effective treatment for severe cases, which negatively impacts the patients’ quality of life.

Hoping to change this, the research team fabricated a two-layered brain tissue by 3D printing human neural stem cells.

To achieve this, the researchers used human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), which can be easily derived from cells harvested from the patients themselves, reducing the risk of an immune response.

Initially, the hiPSCs were differentiated into neural progenitor cells for two separate layers of the cerebral cortex. They were then suspended in a solution to produce two “bioinks,” which were printed to create a two-layered structure of brain tissue.

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Notably, when implanted into mouse brains, the printed cells showed both structural and functional integration with the host tissue.

stem cell brain implant in mice