Brian Lee/ Diamond Bar High 11th Grade
The brain-one of the most essential organs of the human body-engenders the opportunity for people to articulate thoughts, flesh out innovations, and ruminate complex problems. Imagine being able to construct parts of the most complex and important aspects of human existence with your very own hands!
As it turns out, there is no need to imagine because in 2013, brain organoids were already being developed.
However, in 2015 Assistant Professor at Stanford Sergiu Pasca developed more advanced brain organoids, dubbed brain-region-specific-spheroids, mimicking the human brain closer than ever before.
For one, the Pasca brain organoids only contained cells that were supposed to be found in the brain thus increasing the level of accuracy that could be achieved while studying the models. Secondly, Pasca’s region-specific organoids actually mimicked their respective regions in terms of brain structure further contributing to the accuracy of research that can be obtained from observing them.
These developments were not made without a purpose. In actuality, these brain organoids were created to allow researchers to study neurodegenerative disorders at a level of focus previously unachievable, and Pasca’s innovation knocked that goal out of the park.
Pasca’s wife, Anca, showcased a brilliant application of the brain balls when she utilized them to study hypoxia, a condition where one’s brain is starved of oxygen, which is commonly found in premature babies. Through brain organoids, Anca Pasca was able to observe the exact process of hypoxia as it occurs in a human brain without the need for a subject. This one implementation of brain organoids served as insight for researchers to figure out how to prevent neurological defects, from general developmental issues to cerebral palsy, at a young age and conveys that the utility and practice of this discovery is invaluable.
In response to the advancement of brain organoids and the work of Sergiu and Anca Pasca, Aaron, a student residing in California, said “Technology and science has been increasingly prevalent in our world, and this is just another big step forward to potentially saving and positively affecting millions of lives.”
When asked about this topic, Kenneth, another student, responded: “I think they’re pretty cool. If brain organoids were to be perfected then our society can really jump to the next level.”
Both students were enchanted with the immense prospect of brain organoids being able to shed light on some of the most convoluted and unknown diseases to the world and believed that these pinhead sized blobs could change our society as we know it.
Brain organoids truly are the gateway to exploring more effective treatments, discovering the origins of, and even developing new cures to alleviate the growing number of cases of neurodegenerative diseases. And who knows -- neurodegenerative diseases might even become a thought of the past thanks to this incredible innovation.
<Brian Lee/ Diamond Bar High 11th Grade