Animal Trials With 3D Printed Ovaries Show Promise for Treating Human Infertility
3D printing has made strides in bioengineering, now capable of constructing replacement skin, bone, and heart tissue . On May 16, research out of Northwestern University has shown success in printing ovaries which are capable of reproduction in trials with mice. The ovary was created by forming a collagen based gelatin, or protein, scaffold to serve as the base for the implantation of healthy ovarian cells which would develop into follicles that secrete the necessary hormones for reproduction . According to researchers, “because gelatin is a natural material, the body recognizes the implant as a regular body part and allows blood vessels to grow into it,” that allowed for successful reproduction in of three of the seven trial mice .
This therapy was originally developed to treat the infertility that often results from chemotherapy treatment. The new technology would allow for cancer patient’s follicles to be implanted onto a printed scaffold and stored until their chemotherapy treatment has concluded, thereby preserving their reproductive potential . Additional testing will be necessary before human trials are conducted but researchers are hopeful. Dr. Monica Lorando, lead author, commented stating, "I really hope that in the future it would provide an additional option to patients who don't have very many, restoring natural hormonal function and fertility" .
1. Priya Raja, “3-D printed ovaries help mice get pregnant, show promise for fertility treaments,” last modified May 17, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/printed-ovaries-mice-pregnant-show-promise-fertility-treatments/story?id=47437037
2. Tereza Pultarova, “3-D Printed Ovaries Offer Promise as Infertility Treatment,” last modified May 19, http://www.livescience.com/59189-3d-printed-ovaries-offer-promise-as-infertility-treatment.html
3. Rob Stein, “Scientists One Step Closer To 3-D Printed Ovaries To Treat Infertility,” last modified May 20, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/20/528646323/scientists-one-step-closer-to-3-d-printed-ovaries-to-treat-infertility