The intricate potential that 3D printing has on their field of medicine continues to evolve and many scientists believe that the possibilities are endless. A recent landmark study has taken 3D printing to a whole new level.
The study was conducted by a team of scientists at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering. Their intention was to begin exploring possible fertility solutions that could ultimately be used to restore female cancer victims’ ability to conceive if they become sterile as a result of chemotherapy or radiation.
The experiment was conducted on female mice and began by removing an ovary from each of them. The scientists used a 3D printer to create bioprosthetic ovaries to replace those who had been previously removed. The man-made ovaries are printed scaffolds that house immature eggs and the team saw successful results when they discovered the 3D ovaries’ capacity to boost the mice’s hormone production, resorting fertility and reigniting ovulation. Remarkably, the mice were able to conceive and give birth to healthy offspring.
Teresa K. Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Feinberg explained that this milestone was a huge accomplishment for the field of female productivity. “This research shows these bioprosthetic ovaries have long-term, durable function. 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.”