These successes, however, have created a challenge for young cancer patients since chemotherapy and radiation treatments that often save lives threaten fertility.
Techniques available to safeguard fertility, such as freezing eggs for later embryo development, have poor odds of success, leaving patients with very limited options for the future. But that is beginning to change as researchers improve current techniques, mature human eggs in the laboratory, and discover cellular mechanisms that could help preserve and even restore fertility.
Researchers will report on these and other findings at the 42nd annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR), July 18 to 22, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Summaries of the findings are as follows:
Growing Egg Cells in the Lab
Researchers at Northwestern University are developing a method they hope will help preserve a woman's fertility after radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Led by Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., the team has grown undeveloped human eggs to near maturity in laboratory cultures. During a 30-day experiment, they grew human follicles¯tiny sacs that contain immature eggs¯in the lab until the eggs they contained were nearly mature. According to Dr. Woodruff, this is the first step in developing a new fertility option for young cancer patients.
Making a More Viable Embryo
Cryopreservation, the process of freezing eggs for later fertilization, has played a major role in assisted reproductive technology for the past two decades. Unfortunately, however, eggs rarely survive the freezing and thawing processes required to develop a viable embryo. A mere half of eggs survive and of these, only 20 percent, once fertilized, result in the birth of a baby. According to David Albertini, Ph.D., University of Kansas Medical Center, clinicians may be waiting too long – three hours – after thawing eggs to initiate fertilization with the sperm, a process necessary to create an embryo. When his research team used confocal microscopy to observe what was happening at a chromosomal level, they found that the structures needed to make the embryo's chromosomes align and divide were in place after only an hour. This indicates a shorter thawing time frame could have greater potential for success.
Restoring Fertility From the Bottom Up
Researchers at Stanford University, led by Renee A. Reijo Pera, Ph.D., have identified several genes involved in the formation of germ cells that give rise to eggs and sperm. These genes, DAZ and DAZL, form the basis of human embryo and germ cell growth and may be a key to understanding human reproductive failure – one of the most common health problems in men and women and a common cause of birth defects. While continued progress in developing germ cells capable of making embryos renders fertility restoration feasible, it also raises significant ethical questions, says Dr. Reijo Pera.
The Society for the Study of Reproduction was founded in 1967 to promote the study of reproduction by fostering interdisciplinary communication among scientists through conferences and publications in the organization's journal, Biology of Reproduction. The SSR president is Asgerally T. Fazleabas, Ph.D., University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. Program committee chair is Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., Washington State University; and chair of the local organizing committee is Tony M. Plant, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
NOTE TO EDITORS: The scientists will discuss their research during a briefing, "Preserving Fertility: Causes and Solutions," at 11:30 a.m., Monday, July 20, which will be moderated by Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., Washington State University, and 2009 SSR program chair. All briefings take place in room 312 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh. Reporters may participate via telephone conference call by dialing 800-937-0301 (from within the U.S. and Canada). From other countries, call +1 303-248-9679. To be connected to the briefing, enter access code 6489725. The press room hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, July 20, through Tuesday, July 21, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 22. Press room staff may be reached during this time at (412) 352-2886. Otherwise, please call UPMC Media Relations at (412) 647-3555.
Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy