Through clinical trials, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a way to more closely analyze the blood-brain barrier located between the brain and its circulatory system.
The barrier allows nourishment to the brain while keeping out or removing waste. But this means it will also block trial drugs used to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancer from reaching the brain.
To analyze the barrier more closely, researchers have recreated the physical processes of a human blood-brain barrier on a chip. Thereby creating a healthy environment for the brain cell or astrocyte.
Astrocytes communicate with the cells of the human brain. While they are an asset to the brain barrier system, they are difficult to cultivate with precision. The team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has now developed the chip in 3-D.
This allows the astrocytes to act more naturally, which improves the function of the blood-brain barrier. This 3-D development is crucial for researchers!
This is due to the fact that there is no animal model that closely compares to the function of a human blood-brain barrier. Also, better human models are needed to test the experimental drugs.
Additionally, researchers in neurological medicine and pediatric brain cancer at Emory University have shown interest in this advancement.
Finally, there is the possibility of studying the delivery of treatments for Alzheimer’s or brain cancer.
“A scrupulous gatekeeper stands between the brain and its circulatory system to let in the good and keep out the bad, but this porter, called the blood-brain barrier, also blocks trial drugs to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer from getting into the brain.” – by Ben Brumfield, Georgia Institute of Technology