Model brain tissues could replace animal tests

UW–Madison stem cell scientists and biomedical engineers can grow three-dimensional models of brain tissue that could replace animals in screening studies that test the toxicity of chemicals such as new drugs, according to a study published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers were able to coax stem cells into differentiating into several different types of brain cells and begin to organize themselves into a structure that resembles a developing human brain.

Employing rats and mice in toxicity screening tests protects humans from unknown dangers that may be caused by new drugs and chemicals used in commerce, but tissue grown from stem cells could make broader, faster testing work without employing animals.

Read more from the Morgridge Institute for Research: Stem cells help predict neural toxicity

… and at Scientific American: “Brain in a Dish” Could Replace Toxic Animal Tests