What’s the best way to relieve the symptoms of menopause? An artificial ovary may be the answer.
Many women experiencing menopause struggle with weight gain and a loss of bone density. Hormonal replacement therapies can help, but getting the doses wrong can raise the risk of heart disease or breast cancer.
Emmanuel Opara at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina thinks this is because HRT is too simple; it only supplies oestrogen, progesterone or testosterone, or a combination of these. His team has created capsules of ovarian tissue that, once implanted, can supply the full range of ovarian hormones.
The capsules are about half a millimetre wide and are made of layers of ovarian cells that mimic the structure of an ovarian follicle. To see if they work, the team implanted them into rats that have had their ovaries removed – a