Lauren Feldman 3/03/2023 at 6:08 pm
Reuters (March 2, 2023) U.S. regulators rejected Elon Musk’s bid to test brain chips in humans, citing safety risks
On at least four occasions since 2019, Elon Musk has predicted that his medical device company, Neuralink, would soon start human trials of a revolutionary brain implant to treat intractable conditions such as paralysis and blindness. Yet the company, founded in 2016, didn’t seek permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until early 2022 – and the agency rejected the application, seven current and former employees told Reuters.
Computers powered by human brain cells may sound like science fiction, but a team of researchers in the United States believes such machines, part of a new field called “organoid intelligence,” could shape the future — and now they have a plan to get there.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (March 2, 2023) Protecting Animal Welfare during Drug Development
Drug development continues to require animal research, but researchers now realize the importance of prioritizing animal welfare. Researching with care and compassion is not only ethical, but also good science. The reality is that poor conditions can significantly impact data quality due to their physiological effects on animals. For example, stress can change cortisol levels, impact white blood cell counts, and inhibit food consumption, which can affect weight and behavior. Add a drug candidate to that scenario, and it can have a knock-on effect.
News Medical Life Sciences (February 28, 2023) Gut-on-a-chip devices can bridge lab models and human biology Modeling the microbiome is particularly difficult because of its unique environmental conditions. Through creative design, gut-on-a-chip devices can simulate many of these properties, such as the gut’s anaerobic atmosphere, fluid flow, and pulses of contraction/relaxation. Growing intestinal cells in this environment means that they more closely resemble human biology compared to standard laboratory cell cultures.
Fierce Biotech (February 28, 2023) NAFLD organoids offer insights and identify a potential therapeutic gene target
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, is a hot target in drug development. But NASH doesn’t happen out of nowhere—it’s the long-term consequence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Despite being an earlier disease stage, there’s relatively little focus on developing NAFLD treatments compared to NASH therapies, largely because there are no reliable models for understanding the condition. That may be changing thanks to new organoids, or mini organs, developed by scientists from the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands. Grown from human stem cells and edited with CRISPR, the organoids can model NAFLD triggered by diet, genetic predisposition and disorders stemming from single-gene mutations, according to study results published Feb. 23 in Nature Biotechnology. The scientists have already used the models to uncover a potential new treatment target.
News Medical Life Sciences (February 28, 2023) Scientists working to create revolutionary biocomputers powered by brain organoids
Scientists across multiple disciplines are working to create revolutionary biocomputers where three-dimensional cultures of brain cells, called brain organoids, serve as biological hardware. They describe their roadmap for realizing this vision in the journal Frontiers in Science. “We call this new interdisciplinary field ‘organoid intelligence’ (OI),” said Prof Thomas Hartung of Johns Hopkins University. “A community of top scientists has gathered to develop this technology, which we believe will launch a new era of fast, powerful, and efficient biocomputing.”
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