An artificial ovary could make hormone replacement therapy a thing of the past.

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Women with damaged ovaries or who are post-menopausal don't produce sex hormones, which can lead to osteoporosis. Daily HRT helps, but can have side effects.

Emmanuel Opara at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues placed two types of hormone-producing cells from rat ovaries inside an algal capsule, then exposed it to chemicals from the pituitary gland that stimulate hormone production. The cells made sex hormones in the same proportions as healthy ovaries. The hormone capsule would react more dynamically than HRT with fewer side effects, the team says.

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