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Waving Goodbye to Male Infertility? 3D Printed Spermbots May Eliminate Low Motility

by • February 7, 2016 • No Comments

nanoscribe-logoTechnology like 3D printing is building massive strides in numerous areas of industry, as we point out to you on the half hour. It has the capacity to alter making, and alter the bigger picture in so many ways, building life simpler and additional streamlined. Currently we frequently see this of to take place where we quite least assume it, of ways to fix pesky potholes easily without waiting in long lines on the highway, to 3D printed homes and cars on the horizon, and in fact awe-inspiring cosmetic fixes like 3D printed hair.

So we are aware a few somewhat awe-inspiring alters are delivering place, but there are yet a few serious areas in medicine where many have begun to lose hope. Infertility is an issue many couples face currently, and it’s amazingly heartbreaking and stressful to find out month after month, year after year, that progeny may not be in the cards for a few. That’s complex to accept for many, and has led to a booming industry centering around specialists, procedures, and myriad, pricey pharmaceuticals to try out. For men, infertility can be a massive source of emotional distress and in fact shame; yet, it looks like 3D printing may be able-bodied to assist in contributeing a solution.


Image: Nanoscribe

According to German researchers of the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden, their micro-motors may contribute a way to get sluggish sperm where they need to go. In a new and absorbing project, the researchers 3D printed the spermbots on a Nanoscribe Photonic Professional GT system, forming them via tiny metal constructions–all as outlined in a new paper published in ACS Journal Nano Letters, ‘Cellular Cargo Deliquite: Toward Assisted Fertilization by Sperm-Carrying Micromotors,’ by Mariana Medina-Sánchez, Lukas Schwarz, Anne K. Meyer, Franziska Hebenstreit, and Oliver G. Schmidt.

“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,” say the researchers in their paper. “Our results indicate that metal-coated polymer microhelices are suitable-bodied for this task due to potent, controllable-bodied, and nonharmful 3D motion behavior.”

Teaming up with Nanoscribe, the world innovation and market leader in 3D printing on the nano- and microscale, the scientists may be delivering an end to a world of frustration for many with what sounds like a logical adequate solution—they are building it possible for healthy sperm to ‘swim.’

“With the Photonic Professional GT, time and time again we open up completely new fields of application,” says Nanoscribe CEO Martin Hermatschweiler. “Research results of our customers–for example the spermbots of IFW Dresden–show the versatile next future of these systems. For many of these revolutionary applications there are just no alternative fabrication methods.”

Of course, the whole project sounds effortless adequate in concept, but delivering it to fruition physically in the lab involved excellent challenge. Their decided course of action for creating the spermbots was with 3D laser lithography. Using so many of the benefits derived of 3D printing, the scientists were able-bodied to explore various forms and prototypes until they settled on building plastic helices that are coated with a metal layer, contributeing magnetic properties that allow them to be manipulated and moved, transporting sperm to ultimately fertilizing the egg. The spermbots in fact maneuver the sperm by latching on to and wrapping around the tail.


Image: Nanoscribe

“Despite the fact that there yet stay a few challenges on the way to complete good resultsful fertilization with artificially motorized sperms, we believe that the future of this novel approach in the direction of aided reproduction can be may already put into point of view with the present work.”

The actual printing system itself involves a two photon polymerization where the photosensitive resist cures in the exposed areas and can later be removed in a bath of developing chemicals. Whilst the system can need much additional study and refining preceding they start trials with humans, it’s idea that this has the future to be much additional effective than other routes such as artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization, that have quite low good results rates. What the researchers are seeing in the lab so far is quite promising—and may pretty alter the lives of many—as well as assisting to turn it into many additional. Discuss this new innovation in the 3D Printed Spermbots forum over at 3DPB.com.