Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studies Shed Light On Preserving Fertility Among Cancer Patients

Date:
July 21, 2009
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
Successes in cancer treatment have created a challenge for young cancer patients since the chemotherapy and radiation treatments that save lives threaten fertility. Researchers are now reporting on how they are maturing human eggs in the laboratory, improving current techniques and discovering new cellular mechanisms that could help preserve and even restore fertility.

Cancer treatment has come a long way, leading to a multitude of therapy options and improved survival rates. 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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Studies Shed Light On Preserving Fertility Among Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720134237.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2009, July 21). Studies Shed Light On Preserving Fertility Among Cancer Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720134237.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Studies Shed Light On Preserving Fertility Among Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720134237.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins