After Months In A Dish, Lab-Grown Minibrains Start Making ‘Brain Waves’

National Public Radio

Jon Hamilton

By the time a fetus is 6 months old, it is producing electrical signals recognizable as brain waves.

And clusters of lab-grown human brain cells known as organoids seem to follow a similar schedule, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

“After these organoids are in that six-to-nine-months range, that’s when [the electrical patterns] start to look a lot like what you’d see with a preterm infant,” says Alysson Muotri, director of the stem cell program at the University of California, San Diego. . . [Full text]

Japanese scientist to use human-animal hybrids to create organs

BioEdge

Michael Cook

A Japanese stem cell scientist has obtained permission to create human-animal chimeras and transplant them into surrogate animals. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a researcher at the University of Tokyo and at Stanford University, plans to insert induced pluripotent human cells into mouse embryos. His ultimate aim is to grow human organs in animals. . . [Full text]

Spanish and US scientists go to China to create human-monkey chimeras

BioEdge

Michael Cook

In a stunning example of evading ethical controversy by exporting it, Spanish and American researchers have created monkey-human chimeras in China. The hybrid embryos will be destroyed after they develop a central nervous system and will not be brought to term. . . [Full text]

Scientists Make Model Embryos From Stem Cells To Study Key Steps In Human Development

National Public Radio

Rob Stein

Scientists have created living entities that resemble very primitive human embryos, the most advanced example of these structures yet created in a lab.

The researchers hope these creations, made from human embryonic stem cells, will provide crucial new insights into human development and lead to new ways to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages, birth defects and many diseases. The researchers say this is the first timescientists have created living models of human embryos with three-dimensional structures.

The researchers reported their findings Monday in a paper published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

But the research is stirring debate about how far scientists should go in creating living models of human embryos, sometimes called embryoids. . . [Full text]

UK bill seeks to protect conscientious objection for medical practitioners

Crux

Catholic News Agency

LONDON – A bill in the British Parliament would clarify the rights of conscientious objection for medical professionals, protecting them from participating in medical procedures to which their beliefs are opposed.

The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Act 2017 would defend healthcare workers in England and Wales from partaking in the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, IVF or similar fertility treatments, or abortion if they have a conscientious objection to doing so.

The bill, now at the committee stage in the House of Lords, was introduced by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, a peer from Northern Ireland, who believes medical professionals should not be discriminated against for their personal beliefs. . . [Full Text]