A major advancement in pioneering technology based around the use of an artificial womb to save extremely premature babies is being hailed as a medical and biotechnological breakthrough.
Recently published in the medical publication, The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study presents world-first data demonstrating the ability of an artificial placenta-based life support platform to maintain extremely preterm lamb fetuses (600-700g); equivalent to a human fetus at 24 weeks of gestation.
Head of WIRF’s Perinatal Research Laboratories and Local Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Matt Kemp, said that whilst previous research had demonstrated the feasibility of extended survival with artificial placenta technology in late preterm fetuses, there was no published evidence that demonstrated the use of the platform to support extremely preterm fetuses – the eventual clinical target of this technology.
“For several decades there has been little improvement in outcomes of extremely preterm infants born at the border of viability (21-24 weeks gestation),” Assoc Prof Kemp said.
“In the AJOG study, we have proven the use of this technology to support, for the first time, extremely preterm lambs equivalent to 24 weeks of human gestation in a stable, growth-normal state for five days.
“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.
“If we are to improve outcomes for babies born at the border of viability we must recognise that they are not ‘small babies’; rather, they are a unique patient demographic that, due to their extremely underdeveloped lungs and limited cardiovascular capacity, require an entirely different treatment approach from older preterm infants.
“The technology was designed to revolutionise the treatment of severely premature newborns. The goal is to offer a bridge between a natural womb and the outside world to give babies born at the earliest gestational ages more time for their fragile lungs to mature.
“With additional refinement, what today might be considered as futuristic technology might soon not be so futuristic and might be standard of care.”
The Latest on: Artificial womb
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The Latest on: Artificial womb
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This week, researchers based at the University of Technology in Eindhoven announced they had received Horizon 2020 funding to build their artificial womb prototype. This follows the news, in 2017 (see ...
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- Dutch university attempts to create artificial wombon October 9, 2019 at 6:54 pm
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- Dutch researchers to develop artificial womb prototypeson October 9, 2019 at 7:38 am
The Horizon 2020 EU program has awarded a research grant of €2.9 million to the Eindhoven University of Technology for researchers to develop artificial womb prototypes. The artificial wombs would ...
- EU boost for Eindhoven artificial womb project, prototype in five yearson October 9, 2019 at 7:07 am
Researchers at Eindhoven University have been given a €2.9m grant for their work on the development of artificial wombs for premature babies, The grant, from the EU’s Horizon fund, comes a year after ...
- Artificial womb: Dutch researchers given €2.9m to develop prototypeon October 8, 2019 at 4:13 am
Prof Guid Oei with an artist’s impression of how the prototype artificial wombs might look. Photograph: Bart van Overbeeke Attempts to create an artificial womb for premature babies have been given a ...
- Using algorithms to build a map of placentaon October 2, 2019 at 7:13 am
Even with MRIs, though, the curved surface of the uterus makes images difficult to interpret. This problem got the attention of a team of researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial ...
- On the History of the Artificial Wombon September 11, 2019 at 7:56 am
As news of the artificial womb spread, some suggested that the medical device—designed to eventually help severely premature human babies—was a step toward a future imagined by Aldous Huxley in his ...
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