Northwestern University researchers have tested various 3d-printing techniques to discover the angles at which ovarian follicles will optimally interact with their scaffolds to increase ovary survival. 30º and 60º angles apparently provide better protection and vascularization than 90º angles. The results have been harnessed to create a prosthetic implant that is meant to help restore fertility. Sterile mice implanted with these new follicle-infused scaffolds were able to reproduce through natural mating processes.
The hope for the future of this research is to provide renewed fertility to female cancer patients rendered sterile by their therapies. The ovarian bioprosthesis may also hold the key to restoring and/or improving hormone production, which has many applications, including enabling young patients to proceed naturally through puberty.