My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia premature lambs research means Humans can be grown

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia premature lambs research means Humans can be grown

“We’ve developed a system that, as closely as possible, reproduces the environment of the womb and replace the function of the placenta,”


Alan Flake, an Attending Pediatric and Fetal Surgeon in the Division of Pediatric General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Artificial wombs are around the corner!


Extremely premature lambs have been kept alive in a fluid-filled plastic bag as reported in the article “Artificial womb helps premature lamb fetuses grow for 4 weeks”, published 25 April 2017 By Jessica Hamzelou, New Scientist.

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The researchers led by Dr Alan Flake, who published their research in the journal Nature Communications are now working with the US Food and Drug Administration to develope a version for extremely premature human infants at 24 weeks, providing support until they reach 28 weeks.   


The artificial uterus that was tested on extremely premature lambs for four weeks could potentially be used for premature babies within the next three years. the study was led by Dr. Alan Flake at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.
Being born extremely prematurely is the most common cause of death in infants born at 22 to 24 weeks. because they did not stay in the womb for the full 40 weeks, they have only a 10% chance of survival.


If they survive, they'll develope a host of birth defects and disorders such as  poor vision or hearing or cerebral palsy as pointed out by Dr. Blake quote: “They have very immature organs. They’re simply not ready to be born yet.”.


Fist lambs; next human babies born in-vitro free of birth defects thanks to CRISPR-Cas9 as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why Dr. Kathy Niakan of Francis Crick Institute Gene Editing means Automated Human Birth”  


So how does their system work?


Plastic Bag acts as artificial Womb - Humans in the future may be grown not born


The plastic bag provides protection from bacterial infection from the outside world. This is a huge improvement over incubators, which are prone to infection and the gas ventilation can leave preemies with lung damage.

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The team fill their bags with fluid comprising water and salts to mimic the environment of the uterus. in place of placenta they used oxegenator device connected to the umbilical cords of the premature lambs. these lambs were 15 and 17 weeks into the full 21-week gestational period had been removed from their mother via Caesarean section.


Then then use a heart monitor device to detect the heartbeats of the extremely premature lambs to control the oxygenator devices to increase and decrease oxygen supply to the lambs. hey were kept in the bags for up to four weeks. After that period of time, some of them were killed and an autopsy done to determine their level of brain and organ development.




Some of them were allowed to be "born" and were bottle fed after they were born. All the animals, both the ones examined via autopsy as well as the one that were allowed to be "born" showed no abnormalities in the lambs’ brains and lungs, quote: “These animals are, by any parameter we’ve measured, normal”.


Humans being grown instead of being born the normal way is therefore not such a far-fetched idea after all!



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