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Prematurely Born Lambs Kept Alive in Artificial External Placenta – Human Babies Could Be Next

Accepted submission by Phoenix666 at 2016-05-03 12:54:00

A new artificial placenta that mimics conditions in the womb [] being developed by researchers at the University of Michigan (UM) might provide new hope [for premature babies].

The university has just reported that such an external placenta has kept five extremely premature lambs alive for a week. Although clinical trials are yet to be scheduled for humans, the researchers are hopeful that the technology might one day become a viable way to keep the earliest born babies alive until they can develop on their own.
The artificial placenta works by using an extracorporeal membrane oxidation (ECMO) system in which an external pump, or artificial lung, oxygenates the blood directly and bypasses the lungs. While ECMO has been around awhile, the researchers altered it in this case to serve very premature infants.

The technology would be a godsend for expectant parents if it pans out.

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