Dynamic 3-D Female Tract Model Developed
Scientists at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Draper Laboratory have developed EVATAR, a microenvironment that mimics how organs in the female reproductive tract interact. Scientific progress on this microfluidic system is summarized in the March 28, 2017 edition of Nature Communications.
The size of a bento box, the platform contains 3-D models of human tissue-based ovaries, Fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, vagina and liver, as well as a universal medium that circulates like blood. The new technology imitates what actually happens in a woman’s body during a 28-day menstrual cycle.
Using this dynamic technology, scientists will be able to study hundreds of compounds and new pharmaceuticals in a stable and precise manner for long periods of time. Earlier identification of more effective drug compounds means product developers could focus work effort and allocate more research funds to stronger candidates earlier in the process. Aside from its potential impact on drug discovery, EVATAR could target hormonally-driven diseases, like endometriosis, fibroids, and some cancers, identifying what causes them and how they can be treated.
Still in development, project scientists expect microfluidics to be the prevailing technology for biological research within 10 years. For more information on this technology, click here.