Researchers that are funded by NBIB have finally designed a probe that is neuron-like and can be implanted, it can also be used for long-term studies of brain and the treatments of the diseases related to it. Major applications involve the treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinson and Alzheimer.
“Designing high resolution neural probes that remain viable in the brain has been a goal of researchers for decades,” explained Dr, Michael Wolfson. “Dr. Lieber and his group are at the forefront of this endeavor. In this latest work, they have created neural probes that are the size, shape and flexibility of real neurons. These new probes seamlessly integrated and recorded the function of adjacent neurons in mice over relatively long periods of time without inducing the damage and disruption that has hampered this type of work in the past.”
The research team built tiny probes that were neuron-mimicking by using photolithography. 16 strands of the NeuE were joined together and then injected in the hippocampus of the brains of mice. The strands then unfolded and mingled with the neurons in the brain. In a span of ninety days after doing so, the researchers were able to separate single brain cells from the individual neuron.
Lieber added, ”this was a bonus that we did not expect and strongly suggests that webs of NeuE could be implanted in areas where there is degenerative neurologic disease and act to attract new neurons to repopulate the damaged region.”
Lieber said, “frankly, this is the most exciting research I have been involved in. My lab members, collaborators and I all have a plethora of ideas for practical applications of this new ‘stealth’ technology. Ideas range from understanding brain development over time to targeting specific neurons involved in diseases like addiction, depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to assess disease progression, while simultaneously accelerating recovery with electric stimulation in the damaged area.”