Cerebral organoids: past, present and future – Talking Tech News from BioTechniques

As part of our Spotlight on organoids we have the pleasure of featuring a podcast from BioTechniques, where Jenny Straiton (Future Science Group, London, UK) talks to us about her recent Tech News piece on cerebral organoids and the history of neuroscience.
Listen to the podcast below to find out more, as Jenny takes us through some interesting questions, including: “Do neurons that fire together really wire together?”, Can you grow a conscience?” and “What’s in the future for organoids?”

Questions and time points:

02:08 – The development of neurological research throughout history has taken a narrative from reactionary discoveries, to analogous research and now to more representative studies. Would you like to take us through some of the cornerstones in this story?

07:35 – Organoids are kind of the next step in the narrative, really. When did these first start to emerge in research and what makes them so exciting?

09:38 – How could organoids begin to overcome some of the big challenges in neurology?

16:03 – If these organoids can help explore issues that have previously been inaccessible to study, due to the limitations of in utero research, could these organoids prove useful in helping researchers to explore neurodevelopment and the pathways that underlie our learning processes?

18:14 – Are there any key limitations to the organoid approach? Could we be investing too much faith into these models?

19:29 – You say you can’t really consider it as a model brain, but circling back to that point about the plasticity in brains and trying to use organoids to sort of study that synchronization and strengthening of neurons and synapses – could this potentially lead to the creation of something akin to consciousness in human brains? Is that a possibility? Is there some sort of ethical debate around there?

21:06 – It’s quite interesting that you pointed out that brain organoids can’t feel pain because they don’t have pain receptors. But obviously there are organoids that are other organs, so they have pain receptors in them. Could they potentially feel pain?

23:28 – What are the next developments with organoids and how could they direct where the narrative of neurology goes next?

26:03 – Is there a chance that this could overtake stem cell therapy as the next ‘miracle cure’ for different degenerative issues?

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