June 13, 2017
We have reached a milestone when it comes to 3D printing. Researchers in Northwestern University in Chicago were able to successfully replace an infertile mouse’s ovary through 3D printing. Now that is a big turning point in 3D printing. What’s more, the mouse was able to give birth and even nurse its produce.
Teresa K. Woodruff is a representative scientist who was involved in developing the ovary. The idea of creating an organ from scratch rather than transplanting them from another body is like the “Holy Grail” of bioengineering for regenerative medicine, she feels. This is a big hope for woman cancer patients whose treatments have affected their fertility and hormones.
The material used to recreate the organ was a scaffold with a specific geometry and structure made from gelatin. It is produced from breaking down collagen, which is a protein found in the body muscles, bones and skin. Gelatin has been success story as it is strong enough to be made into a structure which can be transplanted. The specific structural geometry has helped ovarian follicles, which are hormone producing egg cells.
With the potential that can be achieved from 3D printing, there would no longer be the need for transplant. Already there are researches and studies involving creating other organs through 3D printing like heart, liver, kidneys and much more. Just a couple of years ago, creating an organ from the scratch had seemed nearly impossible. Time and again, technology keeps proving that anything is possible! And soon reliance on organ transplant may come to an end.