‘Biobag’ That Replicates Womb Could Help Improve Survival Rates For Babies Born Early
“This is an old idea,” Dr. Alan Flake, the study's leader, said. “People pursued it for about 60 years experimentally but we were able to do what others haven’t been able to do and some of that is related to technology."
'Biobag' System Mimics Womb, Could Provide Hope For Premature Babies
Pediatric researchers in Philadelphia have developed a system mimicking the environment in a mother’s womb that could provide new hope for survival and illness prevention in premature babies. The research team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia call the system the “biobag.” It consists of a container made of inert plastic and electrolyte fluid that serves as substitute amniotic fluid. It also contains a device that allows the baby’s heart to pump blood via the umbilical cord and acts in place of the placenta, continually exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. (Eversley, 4/25)
Artificial Womb Shows Promise In Animal Study
So far the device has only been tested on fetal lambs. A study published Tuesday involving eight animals found the device appears effective at enabling very premature fetuses to develop normally for about a month. "We've been extremely successful in replacing the conditions in the womb in our lamb model," says Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications. (Stein, 4/25)