Stem cell research firm Celprogen Inc. has been working on something quite exciting for some time now, which has remained largely under the radar until very recently. The California-based company announced it has successfully 3D printed a human brain organelle using brain stem cells. The bioprinted brain could have applications in studying neurological diseases.
More than just announcing the bioprinted brain organelle, Celprogen has also used the brain to study the “role of Microglia activation and deactivation in neurological diseases.” Through this research and experimentation, the company says it has identified and characterized 11 lead compounds that could be potential drug candidates for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Glioblastoma.
The 3D printed brain was formed using a special bio matrix gel material (CEP707) which contains human brain stem cells, brain extracellular matrix and media. According to Celprogen, the 3D printed brain organelle is “routinely used” for internal toxicology and drug discovery program research, as well as for studying different types of brain cancer.
The 3D printed brain model pictured is reportedly developed specifically for testing how drugs transverse the blood brain barrier. Celprogen says it will present its research on the 3D bioprinted human brain at the upcoming Annual Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.
In addition to the 3D printed human brain organelle, Celprogen has a number of other bioprinting initiatives in the works. In 2016, for instance, the company introduced a 3D bioprinted human pancreas, which it is currently validating along with a 3D bioprinted heart, liver and hair follicle systems. All of the company’s bioprinting efforts are focused on toxicology and drug discovery research rather than implantation.