Houston scientists grow miniature brains to study brain healing

Texas

Inside a research lab at Houston Methodist, they’re growing hundreds of miniature brains from stem cells.

They are not using the brains in patients, but instead neuroscientist Dr. Robert Krencik and his team are using miniature lab-grown brains to better understand how the brain can repair after injuries.

“Our goal is to repair the nervous system that’s been disrupted after an injury, such as brain and spinal cord injury, and also after diseases such as genetic disorders and other neuropathies,” Krencik said.

According to Houston Methodist, Krencik’s team is the first to engineer these 3D mini brains faster than before. They are growing them from stem cells in weeks instead of years, getting them under a microscope quicker and testing treatments on them.

“We can apply drugs to them, we can apply injuring disease models to try to understand how the neuron connections are disrupted in injury and disease, but also we can understand how they may promote regeneration after applying drugs or different techniques that we are studying within the neurosurgery clinic,” Krencik said.

This story originally appeared on NBC affiliate KPRC’s website

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