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Published on Dec 6, 2016
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE) report that they have developed a microfluidic device that contains human cells which faithfully mimics the behavior of the blood-brain barrier, the network of specialized cells that surrounds the arteries and veins that flow through the brain forming a unique gateway that both provides brain cells with the nutrients they require and protects them from potentially harmful compounds. The goal of this device, called a neurovascular unit, is to provide a better way to determine the effect that new drugs and environmental contaminants have on the brain.