New 3-D model of Brain Tissue Mimics Brain Function

GliaCure President Phil Haydon was co-author of a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Tang-Schomer et al, 2014) and featured recently in the New York Times (August 11, 2014). This paper described the creation and potential uses of synthetic 3-D brain-like tissue. This tissue, composed of a modular design of silk protein-based porous scaffolds, mimicked neuron-rich grey matter regions and axon-only white matter regions. Previous models of brain cells have mostly been made with 2-D or 3-D gel and have not replicated the brain’s grey or white matter. When subject to trauma in vitro, biochemical and electrophysiological assessments indicated that this synthetic brain-like tissue responded in a manner similar to normal brain tissue in vivo. This breakthrough approach opens up a new opportunity for studies on brain injury and brain homeostasis. The research project was headed by David Kaplan, Chair of the Bioengineering Department at Tufts University. Phil Haydon and his team provided insights into brain cell physiology and function and conducted electrophysiology experiments to measure the responses of the synthetic tissue to trauma.

 The original paper is available only to subscribers, but the abstract can be found here.