3D printing (or additive printing) is recording successes with medical device technology (where it is termed ‘bio-printing‘.) With bio-printing the aim that cell function and viability are preserved within the printed construct, so that the created object has a biological function.
A newly reported innovation is with the creation of a 3D printed ovary, which has been successfully transplanted into a mouse and fertility has been achieved. Processes are already in place to regenerate joints and ligaments.
Here researchers have developed a prosthetic ovary. When this was transplanted into female mice without ovaries, this led to the birth of live, healthy pups.
According to Gizmag, the prosthetic began as a three-dimensional printed biocompatible scaffold. This was constructed from gelatin. The structure needed to be sufficiently rigid to be transplanted and flexible and spacious enough to house the immature eggs (oocytes, the germ cells involved in reproduction).
The structure was then seeded it with ovarian follicles, which produce estrogen. The device was then implanted and successful results obtained. This could lead to further research with the emerging medical and scientific field of bioprosthesis.
The results have recently presented at the U.S. Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Boston. The findings will be published in a peer reviewed journal in the near future.