outbrain
Close  

3D printed ovaries for mice functions normally

/ 08:22 PM May 22, 2017
Image: INQUIRER.net Stock Photo

Image: INQUIRER.net stock photo

For most women, motherhood is a choice. But sometimes that choice is taken away by circumstances like cancer or genetic illness. To address this, scientists look to 3D printing technology to restore the function of damaged ovaries.

A team of bioengineers reported on a paper published on the open-access journal Nature Communications that they have successfully 3D-printed mice ovaries as a proof of concept for future human treatments, reports Wired.

ADVERTISEMENT

To recreate functioning ovaries, Teresa Woodruff, a reproductive scientist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and co-author of the study, along with her fellow researchers, started studying the ovary’s form.

They found that the basic collagen superstructure of an ovary was patterned like an interweaving lattice, sort of like woven fabric. They deduced that ovarian tissue could be used as “ink” for a 3D printer to print out an ovary.

FEATURED STORIES

The next step was to implant the prosthetic ovaries into female mice, then sit back and watch them make many, which they did. Three out of the nine mice with 3D-printed ovaries successfully produced litters. They were also able to nurse their litter normally, which indicated that the ovaries are functioning properly.

To ensure that the prosthetic ovaries would not have any ill effects, they had the baby mice grow and make more babies, then made those babies make even more babies. It was easily achieved since mice pregnancies only last for around 20 days, and the baby mice become capable of giving birth in just four months.

Though the study is progressing well, it will be a while longer before human trials can begin. Woodruff says they first need to prove that the concept works with larger ovaries. To do this, they will attempt to implant 3D printed ovaries into mini pigs that have bodies which are large enough to accommodate human organs, and have similar menstrual cycles to human females.

Woodruff estimates this step, together with clinical trials to prove the safety of the treatment, will take less than five years.

Due to the complexity of ovaries as organs, Woodruff believes that their studies could help other scientists discover ways of printing other human organs. Alfred Bayle/JB

RELATED STORIES:

Wasabi found to be good for hair growth

HIV eliminated in mice by way of CRISPR, according to study

Artificial womb successfully grows baby lamb

ADVERTISEMENT
TOPICS: 3D printed organs, 3D printed ovary, 3D printing, Teresa Woodruff
Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.