The EVATAR is a working model of a reproductive system made from a mouse ovary and bits of a human uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, and liver. Developed by Northwestern University researcher Teresa Woodruff and her colleagues, the EVATAR is intended to help better test the effects of medicines and toxins on women. And now it's completed its first full menstrual cycle. From National Geographic:
The tissues produced hormones that coursed through the miniature reproductive system, their levels rising and falling over 28 days.
Eventually, multiple synthetic systems could be linked up to essentially create a "human in a dish," some researchers hope, reducing the need to experiment directly on people or animals.
And scientists hope such devices could one day use a patient's own tissues to tailor treatments to an individual. Woodruff imagines a future in which a person's medical care might be tailored using a series of personalized avatar devices as their own metabolism changes through the years.
"I think the future of women's health is bright," (Woodruff) says.