Scientists have been working of artificial womb since long and even they have been successful in incubating healthy baby lambs for the duration of 1 week. And now, they are hoping the technology, some day, becomes capable of doing the same for very premature babies.
The venerable mutual Western Australian-based program, comprising researchers from the University of Western Australia, Tohoku University Hospital, Japan, and the Women and Infants Research Foundation, has desired to develop an effectual treatment approach for extremely preterm babies born at the edge of viability (that is, 22–23 weeks).
Findings have demonstrated that preterm lambs were effectively preserved in a healthy, infection-free state with noteworthy growth, for the duration of 1 week through the ex-vivo uterine environment (EVE) treatment.
Associate Professor Matt Kemp, Chief Investigator in Australia, said that with further progress, EVE treatment can thwart the severe morbidity experienced by extremely premature babies by potentially providing a medical technology that does not exist at present. He said, “Developing treatment approaches for extremely preterm babies is a huge challenge. At this gestational age, it is difficult for the infant to breathe easily as the lungs are usually functionally and structurally too underdeveloped.”
The research team hypothesized that one way of enhancing results for this group would be to consider them as a fetus instead of a small infant. He further added, “At its core, our tools are fundamentally a high-tech amniotic fluid bath coupled with an artificial placenta. So collectively, and with cautious maintenance, what you have obtained is an artificial womb.”
The team, by offering an alternative way of gas exchange for the fetus, hopes to free the extremely preterm cardiopulmonary structure from ventilation-derived damage and save the lives of those infants whose lungs are too undeveloped to breathe well. The end objective is to offer preterm infants the likelihood to better develop their lungs and other vital organs ahead of being brought into the world.”
Associate professor Kemp also mentioned, “This project is a great exemplar of international partnership; it brings together the foremost academic researchers from Western Australia and Japan, and is endeavored in close association with one of Japan’s leading biomedical technology organizations, Nipro Corporation.”
He further stated, “EVE therapy and the application of sheep as a mock-up of human pregnancy and the baby has been an old research interest of this team. We now have a much better perceptive of what functions and what does not, and even though momentous development is necessary, a life support system based on EVE treatment may offer a possibility to enhance results for extremely preterm babies.”