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‘Menstrual Cycle In A Dish’ Offers New Window To Female Physiology

'Menstrual Cycle In A Dish' Offers New Window To Female Physiology

I see technology as being an extension of the human body.

David Cronenberg

A palm size laboratory device in Chicago, had its first period. Sounds weird? Researchers have crafted a device that mimics the female reproductive system and might give a whole new spectrum to female physiology. The device is named ‘Evatar’ by the team, which is an amalgamation of the idea of an Avatar and the name of the first woman in Bible. The scientists report that this device has undergone and replicated a full menstrual cycle.

Purpose Behind The Evatar

'Menstrual Cycle In A Dish' Offers New Window To Female PhysiologyImage Source (Image Source)

The Evatar, which looks much like the Japanese bento box, contains living tissues, such as a bit of mouse ovary, pieces made from a human uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, and liver. The scientists claim that this device will help them understand the difference between how medicines and toxins affect a man and a woman’s body.

There have been a lot of drug testing on men, but on women, not many drugs have been tested. A few tests were done and they proved out to be tragic. For example, a sedative was discovered for women, which worked quite well in relieving morning sickness in the pregnant women, but then the women started having babies with missing or deformed limbs, much to doctors’ surprise. This drug left such a scar that it was banned for use. Most of the drugs pulled out of the market were harmful to women.

Another example of such drug reactions is the sleep aid Ambien, which caused women to sleep-walk and sleep-drive. Witnessing all these uncalled for consequences, Woodruff’s new device aims to make it easier to test drugs in a system that mimics the female body.

How Is The System Synchronised?

'Menstrual Cycle In A Dish' Offers New Window To Female PhysiologyImage Source (Image Source)

The researchers believe that this system is a step ahead in the modern technology. There are devices that have organs on a chip, but this is exceptional according to the scientists. There is a difference between a man and woman’s body in terms of estrogen and progesterone. Women’s menstrual cycle affects the physiology as well, for example, the composition of saliva is different at the peak of the cycle, requiring more enzymes to digest the food.

The hormonal fluctuations are not only important to regulate a female body but also to help in new drug developments. Woodruff gathered an expert for each part of the reproductive system to build this exceptional device, which is not just an organ but the whole system put on a chip. To get this device successfully together, one team worked on just the cervix, while one entirely over the ovary. This is how The Evatar took its shape.

Scientists believe that this is just a stepping stone to the whole new world of science where, they hope, they would build a ‘Human on dish’, which would allow the to give up experimenting on animals or people. They apparently look forward to a system that can use a patient’s own tissues to tailor treatments to an individual.


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