3D Printed Ovaries Restore Fertility in Mice

Published by , May 19, 2017 11:51 am

(ScienceMag) Prosthetic 3D-printed ovaries made of gelatin have allowed mice to conceive and give birth to healthy offspring. Such engineered ovaries could one day be used to help restore fertility in cancer survivors rendered sterile by radiation or chemotherapy. The researchers used a 3D printer with a nozzle that fired gelatin, derived from the collagen that’s naturally found in animal ovaries. The scientists built the ovaries by printing various patterns of overlapping gelatin filaments on glass slides—like building with Lincoln Logs, but on a miniature scale: Each scaffold measured just 15 by 15 millimeters. The team then carefully inserted mouse follicles—spherical structures containing a growing egg surrounded by hormone-producing cells—into these “scaffolds.”
This “landmark study” is a “significant advance in the application of bioengineering to reproductive tissues,” says Mary Zelinski, a reproductive scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton who was not involved with the work.

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