Microchip for Growing and Studying 3D Brain Mimics

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Over the past few years, neuroscientists have been able to grow ever larger and more complex spheroid cultures and organoids that replicate the structure and functionality of brain tissue.

While these models are significantly better at mimicking parts of the brain compared to 2D cultures, they are much more challenging to study because it’s hard to access cells that are below the 3D culture’s surface.Now 3Brain, a spin out of the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), has developed a special chip on which to grow neural tissue that allows for measurement of various activities happening within the tissue studied.

The Khíron integrated circuit has a high density micro electrode array (MEA) with which the grown neural tissue makes intimate contact. At the bottom of the chip is a microfluidic platform that allows for nutrient-rich fluids, drugs, and other compounds to be delivered to the studied tissue.

The chip, which will be presented for the first time a week from now at the SfN Society for Neuroscience 2018 annual meeting in San Diego, California, will hopefully help scientists to understand the onset and development of now common diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and a variety of psychoses. 3Brain believes that it is almost ready to begin marketing their new device, with initial shipments taking place next year.

Microchip for Growing and Studying 3D Brain Mimics