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Premature babies? Artificial womb developed to improve their chances of survival

Scientists in the United States have developed a fluid-filled womb-like bag known as an extra-uterine support device that could transform care for extremely premature babies, significantly improving chances of survival.


  |  Updated On : April 27, 2017 08:06 AM
 Good News! Artificial womb developed to transform premature babies conditions

Good News! Artificial womb developed to transform premature babies conditions

New Delhi :  

Good News! An artificial womb is being created by researchers for extremely premature babies so that the case can be properly taken care off. The main reason behind creating of artifical womb is that premature infants weighing as little as half a kilogram are hooked to ventilators and other machines inside incubators.

Scientists in the United States have developed a fluid-filled womb-like bag known as an extra-uterine support device that could transform care for extremely premature babies, significantly improving chances of survival.

The artificial womb mimics a mother's uterus, allowing the foetus to continue breathing oxygen-filled liquid in the same way it does inside mothers womb.

One of the leaders of the project, Australian foetal physiologist Marcus Davey, said the breakthrough could one day help improve outcomes for premature babies.

"So many research groups have been trying to develop a system like this since the 1950s, however they've met with limited success," Dr Davey said.

"The majority of those infants born at 24 weeks have some sort of illness, and most of the time that is due to lung immaturity."
Dr David Tingay, from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, called it an exciting development.

"This is still pre-clinical or experimental data, but the research group in Philadelphia have managed to overcome many of the limitations others have had in supporting a baby or foetus with womb-like conditions," he said.

A lamb encases in an artificial womb, with drawing explaining the science.

"They've managed to now keep some of these lambs alive for at least a month." 

"And there are some unpublished reports that these animals have been progressing normally after they've so-called 'delivered' them at the end of their experience."

"I think [two years] is optimistic. It will take a long time to be able to demonstrate that this technology can be safely applied in humans.

"That being said, the techniques that they've used each independently are either not already being used in clinical care, or are not far from being able to be adapted to clinical care.

"I think the difficulty will be putting the whole package into a clinical package, and for that reason I think we're further off than the researchers would hope."

First Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 12:33 PM


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