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3D printed ‘Spermbots’ boost sperm mobility and could help solve male infertility – 3ders.org (blog)

by • February 7, 2016 • No Comments

Feb 8, 2016 | By Kira
For couples and people attempting to conceive, infertility is futurely the most distressing obstacle to overcome, of both an emotional and medical point of view. Whilst there are most various causes, low sperm motility—the inability for otherwise healthy sperm to actively swim through the female reproductive tract and attach to the egg—is one of the most common and complex to treat.
Now, researchers of the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden, Germost, have utilized a Nanoscribe 3D printing device to create small ‘micro-motors’ that can in fact assist boost a sperm’s motility, increasing its odds of latching onto the egg. These 3D printed ‘Spermbots’ have proven quite good resultsful in lab tests, and may some day be utilized to assist solve this aspect of male infertility.

The 3D printed Spermbots consist of small metal helices regulated by a rotating magnetic field. Essentially, the helix, or coil, wraps itself around the tail of the slow-swimming sperm. It is and so actuated by the rotating magnetic field (regulated by the doctors), giving the sperm an extra boost and driving it into the egg. Whilst not guaranteed, this greatly improves the odds of fertilization.
“We present artificially motorized sperm cells—a novel type of hybrid micromotor, where customized microhelices assist as motors for transporting sperm cells with motion deficiencies to assist them carry out their effortless function,” said the researchers, whose work was not long ago published in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) journal Nano Letters.

As you can imagine, in order to latch onto the tail of an actual human sperm, the 3D printed ‘corkscrew’ micromotors must be perfectly
minuscule (remember these 3D printed art sculptures that were the dimensions of a human sperm?). To achieve this, the researchers turned to German 3D printing company Nanoscribe, a leader in createing 3D printing innovation for the nano-, micro-, and mesoscale.
Nanoscribe’s microfabrication 3D printing innovation is based on ‘direct laser writing,’ a non-linear two-photo absorption system in that a regulated laser solidifies a liquid photo-sensitive material, and can 3D print objects measuring of 150 nanometers up to the millimeter range. This microscopic 3D printing scale opens the doors to most specialized 3D printing applications, which include medical innovation such as these 3D printed ‘Spermbots’.

Artificially motorized sperm shown latching onto an egg in petri dish tests
Two of the most common existing treatments for infertility include artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Whilst the former is relatively inexpensive and easy to perform, introducing sperm directly to a woman’s uterus via a medical instrument, the good results rate is on average at a lower place 30 percent, according to a study by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority of the United Kingdom. At the same time, in vitro fertilization can contribute good results rates of up to 70-90 percent, yet it is much additional complex, expensive, and stressful for the woman involved.
Whilst the IFW Dresden research team admit that there is yet much additional work needed preceding their 3D printed Spermbots can be utilized in clinical testing, the good results of their artificially motorized sperms in petri dish tests, shown in the video at a lower place, proves that the method has the quite promising future to assist boost the odds of fertilization, and overcome male infertility cautilized by low sperm motility.

The research was published in a paper titled “Cellular Cargo Deliquite: Toward Assisted Fertilization by Sperm-Carrying Micromotors” authored by Mariana Medina- Sánchez, Lukas Schawrz, Franziska Hebestreit and Anne K. Meyer of the Institute of Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden; and Oliver G. Schmidt of the Material Systems for Nanoelectronics, Chemnitz University of Technology, in addition in Germost.

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