What organ did scientists recently 3-D print to eventually combat cancer-related infertility?
Is there anything 3-D printers can”t do? Scientists hope to one day create new 3-D printed organs that can help individuals dealing with cancer-related infertility. For now, they”re starting small. How small? Well, they managed to create a 3-D printed bioprosthetic ovary for an infertile mouse. The best part: The mouse was able to mate and give birth to two pups! Congratulations to that new mother mouse! Science truly is awesome. Source: CNN
The ovaries are an important part of the female reproductive system. Their job is twofold. They produce the hormones, including estrogen, that trigger menstruation. They also release at least one egg each month for possible fertilization. A number of different conditions, from cysts to tumors, can cause ovarian pain.
The list of things that can be created with 3-D printers keeps getting longer: jewelry, art, guns, food, medical devices and, now, mouse ovaries.
Scientists have used a 3-D printer to create a mouse ovary capable of producing healthy offspring. And researchers hope to create replacement human ovaries the same way someday.
“It’s really the holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine,” says Teresa Woodruff, who led the new research published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
The ultimate goal is to create replacement ovaries to restore fertility in women who became sterile after medical treatment, such as cancer chemotherapy, Woodruff says. She hopes to test a human ovary within a few years.
For some time now, doctors have been able to restore the fertility of certain cancer patients by removing and freezing some of their ovarian tissue before they undergo chemotherapy and transplanting it back into them later. Some doctors have even tried doing the same thing with entire ovaries.