Exciting progress in development of artifical ‘ovaries’


An "artificial ovary" could reduce this risk. When she is ready for pregnancy, she can opt for in vitro fertilization methods, they explain.

Researchers from the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, report today that they have for the first time isolated and grown human follicles to a point of "biofunctionality" on a bioengineered ovarian scaffold made of "decellularised" ovarian tissue. She will present the findings of this latest study today (2nd of July 2018) at the 34th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona, Spain.

"The ability to successfully create a "new ovary, ' by removing any tissue that might potentially reintroduce the cancer and fashioning a scaffold on which to grow the egg-containing follicles, allows the reimplantation of a 'safe" ovary, with the potential to successfully restore fertility", he added.

"The artificial ovary will consist of a scaffold (originating from the woman's own tissue or from donated tissue) combined with her own follicles", Pors wrote in an email. This second method is seldom used because of the fear that the removed ovarian tissues might contain cancer cells which may be reintroduced into the patient's body when the tissues are reimplanted.

Women diagnosed with cancer can have their eggs frozen.

But, as even the study's lead scientist, Dr. Susanne Pors, states, this amounts to a "proof of concept", if an "exciting" one. In English, if the frozen tissue is put back one, then the disease will probably come back.

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They then implanted immature egg cells into this empty ovarian "scaffold". Although the risk is quite low, yet women with specific kinds of cancer could not get this treatment.

Though this approach might work, he concluded that "it is not possible to tell until the data from this research group have been peer-reviewed by the scientific community and published in a scientific journal".

The technique will be of particular benefit to female cancer sufferers whose fertility is often destroyed by radio and chemotherapy, as well as patients with multiple sclerosis and certain blood disorders. Renewed hormonal function occurred in 95% of these women, and more than 100 children have been conceived after the tissue transfers.

This is perhaps the only treatment for preserving fertility in women.

But still, the experts say that the experiment is in its initial development stage and human testing will have to be carried out.


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