Endocrine Medicine: 3D Printed Ovary
In the light of the growing technology of the 3D Printers, it is quite known for having no limits when it comes to providing unique features that are used as a substitute for worldly objects.
Now, the 3D printing industry is giving a chance for those who seek more from just prayers and high hopes. The first ever 3D printed ovary is now in the works of providing the opportunity for people who are having difficulty in conceiving.
As of now, the project is still in its testing phase as the subjects for the 3D Ovaries are focused on mice. These are needed measures in a process to make sure that final product of the research can benefit the human race with artificial ovaries in the future.
The 3D printed version of the ovary works on the tested subjects because the design was created to act as a scaffold that can hold and support both the egg cells and other hormone-producing components that are essential in a fertile ovary. The material used in the structure are printed from gelatin material that is present in a collagen. A collagen is an animal protein that can be installed in a printed structure that is used in most surgeries in today’s generation. This material can allow the body where the artificial part was placed to grow new cells.
Dr. Monica M. Laronda, a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said that this study will be released during the 2016 Endocrine Society meeting. She also added the future possibilities and breakthrough this might possess in the long run such as one day finding a way to restore hormone and fertility function for women who suffer from reduced ovarian function and side effects from cancer treatments. The development of this implant was made through a scalable 3D printing method which is now common in most artificial surgeries.
Moreover, the said process and implications are also open for transgender as well. The endless possibilities that it can open is undoubtedly vast but before anything else, further research and a lot of testing processes is still required. The next stage in the testing phase would be having large animal trials. The next stage would probably be the process of removing the animal’s ovaries and the replacement of the 3D printed part. Also, the possible candidate for the large beast category would be porcine so the results would be either healthy baby piglets or back to the drawing board for the research team.
3D printing of bio prosthetics is becoming the next big thing when it comes to the medical world. With this, people who are suffering from illnesses that require newer organs and other parts can surely benefit from this research. It would only take a matter of time when these types of study would have bigger funding to hasten the process.