Two years ago, researchers created an artificial womb for premature lamb fetuses. Now, that technology is getting better by creating a womb that can one day help extremely premature babies live from 21–24 weeks old.
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Artificial womb technology breaks its 4 minute mile
“”This result underscores the potential clinical application of this technology for extremely preterm infants born at the border of viability. In the world of artificial placenta technology, we have effectively broken the 4 minute mile.” Assoc Professor Matt Kemp said the latest findings represent a significant milestone in the technology’s future implementation into clinical use.”
Successful use of an artificial placenta to support extremely preterm ovine fetuses at the border of viability
“Seven of 8 ex vivo uterine environment group fetuses (87.5%) completed 120 hours of therapy with key parameters maintained in a normal physiological range. There were no significant intergroup differences in final weight, crown-rump length, and body weight-normalized lung and brain weights at euthanasia compared with controls. ”
Fluid-filled ‘biobag’ allows premature lambs to develop outside the womb
“For their first try, Flake’s group delivered several lambs shortly before they should have been born. The researchers bathed the lambs in artificial amniotic fluid, with electrolytes that mimicked the real thing, and connected the animals to an oxygenator. The goal was to see whether the system could sustain the lambs. The strategy worked unexpectedly well, with one animal surviving 108 hours, but sepsis and other complications made clear it wasn’t good enough.”
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