Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



 

Female reproductive cycle recreated on chip

03 April 2017

By Caroline Casey

Appeared in BioNews 895

Researchers in the US have replicated the female reproductive tract using a 3D model that mimics the natural menstrual cycle.

As part of a collaborative effort to create a human-on-a-chip model, in which the whole body, including the brain, is represented and can be studied in vitro, the researchers built a model containing living cells of each of the five organs necessary for female fertility, including the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.

The system, called Evatar, is supplied with the hormones naturally produced during the menstrual cycle, and each of the organs is exposed to them by the flow of a special fluid designed to act like blood. It is also connected to a second organ-on-a-chip system which represents the liver, so that any drugs introduced for testing can be metabolised in a natural manner.

The tissue used to recreate all the organs was derived from hysterectomies, apart from the ovarian cells, which were taken from mice. The researchers say that the model could be used to allow researchers to test drugs with speed and ease, as well as to investigate the causes of illnesses such as endometriosis, fibroids and some cancers.

'There is no good animal model for the 28-day human reproductive cycle,' explained Dr Teresa Woodruff, from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and senior author of the study. 'This represents not only a revolution in cell culture technique [but also] an evolution of the study of the reproductive tract and disease.'

Other experts have welcomed the study, which was published in Nature Communications. Dr Channa Jayasena, from Imperial College London, said that 'the results are exciting and represent an important innovation', but stressed that 'we must remember that the rodent and human reproductive systems have important differences'.

Dr Woodruff explained that the ultimate goal of this technology is to use stem cells taken from an individual to create a personalised model of their own reproductive system. This could then be used to test drugs and treatments in a safe manner specifically for that person.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Scientific American | 28 March 2017
 
Nature Communications | 28 March 2017
 
Science Daily | 28 March 2017
 
BBC News | 28 March 2017
 
Nature News | 28 March 2017
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

22 May 2017 - by Dr Katie Howe 
Flushing the fallopian tubes of infertile women with poppyseed oil increases their chances of conceiving, according to a new study...

12 September 2016 - by Dr Katie Howe 
Researchers in Belgium have taken the first steps towards producing a transplantable artificial ovary after demonstrating successful follicle survival in mice...
20 September 2010 - by Owen Clark 
Many women face fertility problems following treatment for cancer. However, a US research team has offered new hope to female cancer patients wishing to have children, by creating the world’s first artificial ovary capable of developing human egg cells....

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation