3D printed ovaries against infertility

Science and technology have no limit, and it gives bluffing results. An infertile mouse gave birth to healthy little ones following the implantation of artificial 3D printed ovaries.It’s a smart health innovation and discovery that can spark the hope of hundreds of women scientists at Northwestern University.

3D prints give hope of hundreds of women

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, USA, supported by the Mc Cornick School of Engineering, have done what may be considered a big step for medicine.

The project of the two entities was to create ovaries printed in 3D, to implant them in a mouse. At the end of the transplant, the researchers were able to note, that the new ovaries raised the level of hormones produced by the mouse and by incidence, the fertility of the mice.

The researchers say that the young mice born following the implantation of these ovaries in 3D were in good health, and that they were not different from the other babies. Still more surprising, the mother was able to breastfeed at birth and, since the hormonal process is working properly, the rodent has returned to normal menstrual cycles. Researchers are now considering launching clinical trials to adapt this technique to women.

This breakthrough, described in the journal Nature Communications, could eventually provide an effective solution to women suffering from infertility problems.

Technology to perfect again

“The current technologies of assisted procreation whose in vitro fertilization, hormonal treatments and ovarian transplants do not provide long-term solutions and leave the patients deadlocked,” commented the authors of the study. “The field of oncofertility (fertility preservation after cancer) must develop and find an organ that allows long-term restoration of hormonal function and fertility for all patients.”

3D prints of organs

The tour de force of this experience is that if the program is a success for mice, it can apply to women. What does this change concretely? For women who have not been able to have children, for example because of early cancers, or for women who are no longer able to conceive, a second chance is possible.

3D printed ovaries operational in “10-15 years”

However according to one of the main people in charge of the study.This will not happen before at least 10 or 15 years. To get the most out of the process, scientists will have to make an egg using the woman’s stem cells and then produce sex hormones. Finally, they will need to insert them into a functional ovarian follicle to stimulate the cycle.

So far, the university has stored 375 ovarian tissues in human patients in 98 participating centers in the country to help these women to reproduce later.

This program is in parallel with other projects. This is for example the case of the Atlanta-based Prelude start-up valued at $ 200 million. The company plans to delay the biological clock of women allowing them to have children until old age. If the start-up has no rights to practice in the United States, the firm has already been able to create young eggs in Canada and Japan.

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