Breakthrough in Cryopreservation: Chinese Researchers Revive Frozen Human Brains


Researchers at China's Fudan University Have Developed a Groundbreaking Technique to Revive Frozen Human Brains

Researchers at China's Fudan University have developed a groundbreaking technique that can successfully freeze and thaw human brain tissue without causing any damage. This remarkable breakthrough has the potential to revolutionize the way we study and understand the human brain, paving the way for advancements in the treatment of neurological conditions.

The researchers, led by Dr. Zhicheng Shao, have meticulously tested a cryopreservation solution they call "MEDY," which is a combination of ethylene glycol, methylcellulose DMSO, and Y27632. This specialized solution has demonstrated the ability to protect brain organoids (brain tissue grown from stem cells) from the detrimental effects of freezing and thawing.

In their experiments, the team froze brain organoids for up to 18 months and then observed their recovery after thawing. Remarkably, they found minimal differences between the frozen organoids and those that had not been subjected to the freezing process. This groundbreaking finding suggests that MEDY can effectively preserve the structural and functional integrity of brain tissue, even after prolonged periods of cryogenic storage.

The researchers then took their work a step further, testing the MEDY solution on a sample of brain tissue obtained from a human epilepsy patient. The results were equally impressive, as the solution protected the tissue from damage and even preserved the pathological features associated with epilepsy. This is a crucial discovery, as it means that brain tissue samples can now be frozen and stored for future study or analysis without the freezing process interfering with the results.

"Fresh, viable human brain tissue with natural pathological features is a more reliable model to study neural diseases (than organoids)," explained the research team. "However, with limited accessibility and manipulability, cryopreservation and reconstruction of living brain tissue with specific pathological features remain hugely challenging, as it is hard to maintain the survival of large amounts of functional neurons."

The researchers believe that their MEDY solution will enable the large-scale and reliable storage of diverse neural organoids and living brain tissue, opening up a new frontier in brain-related research. This breakthrough could facilitate a wide range of medical applications, from studying the pathological mechanisms of brain diseases to exploring the potential of organoid transplantation for brain injury treatment and drug discovery.

As the scientific community eagerly awaits the further development and implementation of this groundbreaking technology, the potential impact on our understanding of the human brain and the treatment of neurological disorders is truly exciting. This remarkable achievement by the Fudan University researchers marks a significant step forward in the pursuit of unlocking the secrets of the human brain.