Ingo Bechmann, professor of neuroimmunology at the University of Leipzig's Institute of Anatomy, said about the feat, "It is a revolution, an outstanding one!"
Bechmann explained that the revolution applies to "neuroanatomy, as it (uDISCO) eventually will allow us to see brain connectivity along with neurons in 3D. There are, however, many more applications." One, he said, is potentially showing how viral infections impact individuals at the cellular level.
Both he and Ertürk's team say that uDISCO's possibilities are nearly unlimited at this point. Ertürk and his colleagues are already collaborating with leading medical experts to study tumors, stem cells, inflammation, diabetes, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. They're also hoping to map the human brain.
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Ertürk said, "Now for the first time we have a powerful tool that can make the human brain transparent and reduce it to a size that will fit in an imaging microscope for mapping. However, how the post-mortem human brain neurons will be labeled with a fluorescent signal remains a major challenge to be solved beforehand."
The researchers also believe that there is an ethical benefit to using uDISCO. They say it will dramatically reduce the number of animals required for experimental research.