A group of scientists has grown mini brains that have something their real counterparts do not: a set of eye-like structures called “optic cups” that give rise to the retina — the tissue that sits in the back of the eye and contains light-sensing cells, according to a statement.
Why are scientists growing mini brains like these in the lab? These organoids can be useful for studying human brain development and related diseases. Scientists could use the new organoids — with their optic cups — to study brain-eye interactions during embryo development, Gopalakrishnan said. What’s more, they can be used to study retinal disorders and maybe even be used to create personalized retinal cell types for therapies.
The researchers now hope to figure out how to keep the optic cups viable for a long time and use them to research the mechanisms behind retinal disorders.