AxoSim and its Co-Founder, Michael Moore, PhD, Quoted in the Wire

News and Blog AxoSim and its Co-Founder, Michael Moore, PhD, Quoted in the Wire Featured Image

WIRED recently quoted our Co-Founder Michael J. Moore and mentioned AxoSim and our 3D peripheral nerve model. The article highlights 3d printing of living brain cells from a team of scientists at Monash University.

Excerpt from article:

A Lab Just 3D-Printed a Neural Network of Living Brain Cells

YOU CAN 3D-PRINT nearly anything: rockets, mouse ovaries, and for some reason, lamps made of orange peels. Now, scientists at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, have printed living neural networks composed of rat brain cells that seem to mature and communicate like real brains do.

Researchers want to create mini-brains partly because they could someday offer a viable alternative to animal testing in drug trials and studies of basic brain function. At the start of 2023, the US Congress passed an annual spending bill pushing scientists to reduce their use of animals in federally funded research, following the signing of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Modernization Act 2.0, which allowed high-tech alternatives in drug safety trials. Rather than testing new drugs on thousands of animals, pharmaceutical companies could apply them to 3D-printed mini-brains—in theory. There are still complexities to iron out before this moves from proof of concept to standard lab practice.

“Making a gel that is as soft as the brain, but that you can still print through a 3D-printer, is really hard,” says Moore.

As Moore points out, 3D-printing such delicate tissue is relatively slow, even when the final product is tiny. More work needs to be done before this precise but sluggish technique can be scaled up from academic research labs to Big Pharma, where companies are often testing dozens of drugs at once. “It’s not impossible,” Moore says. “It’s just going to be difficult.” (AxoSim, a neuroengineering startup cofounded by Moore, has already started building 3D models of human neurons and peripheral nerves for commercial drug testing.)

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*Photo credit to Helena Parkington and Yue Yao*