3D-printed ovary could make babies

Amos Gonzales
May 18, 2017

"Using bioengineering, instead of transplanting from a cadaver, to create organ structures that function and restore the health of that tissue for that person, is the holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine", researcher Teresa Woodruff stated.

Ovaries are essential to the female reproductive system. The team removed the mice's existing ovaries, sterilized them, preserved the tissue and preserved the cells that produce hormones.

"Every organ has a skeleton", Woodruff said in a statement. Normal egg maturation was observed, with hormones production in response ovulation and menstruation cues.

"Most hydrogels are very weak, since they're made up of mostly water, and will often collapse on themselves", Shah said. Shah and her colleagues also endowed their scaffolding material with pores in which follicles could be placed.

"What truly makes a coordinated effort work are the identities and having the capacity to discover the amusingness in the examination", Shah said. The team showed that blood vessels from each mouse infiltrated the scaffolds.

"From that we were able to put in place the ovarian follicles and the follicles then function", she told Reuters Health. To easily identify pups born from mice with 3-D ovaries, researchers genetically engineered the bioprosthetic ovaries with mouse eggs to glow green.

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Susan Scutti at CNN reports that the researchers were actually surprised that the ovaries worked the first time around. This is so it can house follicles that are at different maturity stages. While some follicles are instructed to ovulate, others receive signals from the ovary to stay dormant or to mature.

Researchers created a "scaffold" printed a collagen, gel-like porous bioprosthetic that mimicked the structure of a mouse ovary, optimized for nutrient and blood flow, which are essential to the survival and function of the organ. Atala was not involved in the new research. Of the seven mice that received 3-D printed ovaries, three birthed litters, and those mice went on to have children of their own. "Live birth wasn't even our first goal". Now, the 3-D printer could be used as a potential infertility treatment. "But most importantly, maybe you don't need to take immunosuppressant drugs, you don't need to take anticoagulants like you do in so many of these operations". "It will eventually decrease the cost of the production of these technologies because you're automating the process".

Current options to restore fertility and hormone function in cancer survivors include in-vitro fertilization and ovarian transplants. This is a promising advance for female cancer patients whose treatment has affected their hormones and fertility. "We realized what that ovary skeleton looked like and utilized it as a model for the bioprosthetic ovary embed". Prior to the treatments, cryopreserving the ovaries can develop new synthetic ovaries.

Dr Stewart said this technique still required the existence of ovarian follicles containing eggs. The researchers punched out 2-millimeter circles through the scaffolds and implanted 40-50 follicles into each one, creating a "bioprosthetic" ovary.

"This is less than 10 years away people", she said.

Other reports by BadHub

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