The list of things that can be created with 3-D printers keeps getting longer: jewelry, art, guns, food, medical devices and, now, mouse ovaries. Scientists have used a 3-D printer to create a mouse ovary capable of producing healthy offspring. And researchers hope to create replacement human ovaries the same way someday.
To use the technology in humans in the future, doctors could remove follicles from a woman before she starts chemotherapy. They would put that tissue into a larger, 3-D-printed ovary scaffold, then transplant the device into the patient when she finishes treatment. "I find this paper very exciting," says Kutluk Oktay, who specializes in fertility restoration at New York Medical College and was not involved in the work. Oktay cautions that much more research is needed to see whether this approach would work in humans. However, he is optimistic. "I think it does open a new avenue in the area of reproductive biology and fertility preservation," Oktay says.
NYMC Faculty: Kutluk Oktay, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, medicine, and cell biology and anatomy