Scientists from Northwestern University have created a miniature female reproductive tract, containing 3-D models of ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, vagina and liver with fluid pumping through all of them that performs the function of blood. The device could help drug developers identify beneficial treatments and help guide more individualized therapy.
This new technology is called EVATAR and is made with human tissue. What makes it ground-breaking is how it creates a dynamic culture in which organs communicate with each other as opposed to being static in a dish. The objective is to use an individual’s stem cells to create a personalized replica of their reproductive system.
“If I had your stem cells and created a heart, liver, lung and an ovary, I could test 10 different drugs at 10 different doses on you and say, ‘Here’s the drug that will help your Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or diabetes,” said Teresa Woodruff, reproductive scientist at Northwestern University Feinberg, where the research is being conducted in conjunction with Draper Laboratory. “It’s the ultimate personalized medicine, a model of your body for testing drugs.”
The scientists hope that EVATAR will help identify causes of endometriosis, fibroids and some cancers, as they are all hormone driven. As well as identifying such conditions, the system allows scientists to test any number of compounds and pharmaceuticals to witness how they affect these organs.
Speaking of the the systems potential, Ms. Woodruff said, “This is nothing short of a revolutionary technology.”
For more information visit Nature.com.