Bio Eats World

Journal Club: Bioengineering Birth... Again!

Episode Notes

Today we are re-running a previous episode of Journal Club — our show where we curate breakthrough research and bridge paper to practice — in light of a recent article published in the journal Nature (see show notes below). In this episode, host Lauren Richardson talks to Professor Anthony Atala from the Wake Forest School of Medicine about his lab’s work creating an engineered uterus that can support live births. This work represents a major milestone in regenerative medicine and could be used to address a pressing unmet clinical need — and it might even be laying the groundwork for the ability to gestate babies outside of the body. That is where the recent Nature article, entitled “Ex utero mouse embryogenesis from pre-gastrulation to late organogenesis” by Aguilera-Castrejon et al., comes in. That article describes the creation of a cell culture system that can support embryonic development — up to a certain point, that is.


So in this episode we are talking about creating a tissue engineered uterus, that could be used to replace a defective uterus and that might one day possibly support pregnancy out of the body — whereas in the recent Nature article, they do away with the uterus entirely and culture the embryos in a fully mechanical set up. While this kind of ex vivo pregnancy still seems like sci-fi, both of these articles make steps in that general direction, and more importantly, increase our understanding of the female reproductive system and early development. 


Anthony Atala, MD (the G. Link Professor and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the W. Boyce Professor and Chair of Urology), joins host Lauren Richardson (@lr_bio) to discuss the results and implications of the article "A tissue-engineered uterus supports live births in rabbits" by Renata S. Magalhaes, J. Koudy Williams, Kyung W. Yoo, James J. Yoo & Anthony Atala, published in Nature Biotechnology.

In the introduction, we also discuss the new article "Ex utero mouse embryogenesis from pre-gastrulation to late organogenesis" by Alejandro Aguilera-Castrejon, Bernardo Oldak, Tom Shani, Nadir Ghanem, Chen Itzkovich, Sharon Slomovich, Shadi Tarazi, Jonathan Bayerl, Valeriya Chugaeva, Muneef Ayyash, Shahd Ashouokhi, Daoud Sheban, Nir Livnat, Lior Lasman, Sergey Viukov, Mirie Zerbib, Yoseph Addadi, Yoach Rais, Saifeng Cheng, Yonatan Stelzer, Hadas Keren-Shaul, Raanan Shlomo, Rada Massarwa, Noa Novershtern, Itay Maza & Jacob H. Hanna, published in Nature.