3D printing to reveal molecular causes of neurological disorders

The project carried out by polimi young researchers has been funded by Fondazione Cariplo

Creating an accurate model of the human cerebral cortex by using state-of-the-art 3D printing techniques to reveal the molecular causes of the onset and development of neurological disorders, including Pitt-Hopkins syndrome.

This is the aim of project “Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying Pitt-Hopkins syndrome through the generation of 3D printed vascularized cortical organoids” recently funded by Fondazione CARIPLO with €250,000 under the call for proposals “Biomedical research conducted by young researchers 2021”.

The topic is of considerable medical importance because, given the structural complexity of this area of the brain, it is impossible to reproduce and study it in the laboratory. Indeed, the cause of these diseases is often unknown to date, thus preventing the development of effective treatments.

Through the proposed analysis, we expect to accurately identify the molecular and cellular pathological mechanisms underlying Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. The results should also be relevant for other neurological disorders, and contribute to define new therapeutic strategies and identify diagnostic markers.

Mattia Sponchioni, researcher at the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta” and project leader

The project will, particularly, reproduce the human cerebral cortex by creating vascularised cortical organoids. The reproduction of the complex system of blood vessels, which are essential for the supply of oxygen and nutrients, is of the utmost importance as it will enable the model to make predictions over a much longer timeframe than studies conducted to date.

This ambitious project will witness a strong synergy between Politecnico di Milano and Humanitas University for interdisciplinary work involving the development of new 3D printing technologies and an accurate molecular biological analysis.

Life Sciences