A palm-size device that looks much like a Japanese bento box was able to replicate, for the first time, a full 28-day menstrual cycle of the human female reproductive tract
Just imagine the bento box’s compartment containing different living tissues- one to have a bit of mouse ovary and the others to hold pieces made from a human uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, and liver. Have a look:
They named it the EVATAR as a play on the idea of an avatar together with the name of the Bible’s first woman. “It’s really revolutionary technology,” says study co-author Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University.
This device is designed to make an easier way to test drugs in a system that mimics the female body as medicines and toxins affect women differently from men. “I think we’re in a new era of investigation,” says Marianne Legato, who heads the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine
in New York City. She believes that such device is a step toward a much-needed revolution in medicine.
The tissues were able to produce hormones that streamed through the miniature reproductive system, mimicking its rise and fall during the different stages of the cycle. “As the hormones estradiol and progesterone are identical in all species, there was not perceived to be any issue in mixing the tissue types used as the outcome should be the same regardless”, explained Woodruff, to IFLScience
Changes on estrogen and progesterone levels throughout women’s menstrual cycles can greatly affect their physiology. “Even the composition of saliva is different at the peak of the cycle,” she says. “So these hormonal fluctuations are an important factor not only in normal function, but can be really isolated as specific targets for new drug developments.”
Good to hear that a recent advancement is finally able to focus on the distinct need of women! Hope there’ll be more in the future (and free tampons please!)