A new method of replicating the blood-brain barrier in a research model has been developed using nanotechnology.
Researchers at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia have fabricated an artificial device reproducing a 1:1 scale model of the blood-brain barrier. The device combines artificial components made with 3D advanced microfabrication techniques and biological endothelial cells.
Mimicking the brain microcapillaries, the model consists of a microfluidic system of 50 parallel cylindrical channels connected by junctions and pores, with endothelial cells building a biological barrier. Fluids can pass through it at the same pressure as blood in brain vessels.
This could represent an important new tool for studying therapeutic strategies to overcome the blood-brain barrier and treat brain diseases that target the central nervous system.
The ultimate goal will be to find new approaches for the treatment of brain cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis.
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