Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male fertility can be restored after cancer treatment, researchers find

Date:
November 1, 2012
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
An injection of banked sperm-producing stem cells can restore fertility to males who become sterile due to cancer drug side effects, according to researchers. In their animal study, previously frozen stem cells restored production of sperm that successfully fertilized eggs to produce early embryos.

An injection of banked sperm-producing stem cells can restore fertility to male primates who become sterile due to cancer drug side effects, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Magee-Womens Research Institute. In their animal study, which was published today in Cell Stem Cell, previously frozen stem cells restored production of sperm that successfully fertilized eggs to produce early embryos.

Some cancer drugs work by destroying rapidly dividing cells. As it is not possible to discriminate between cancer cells and other rapidly dividing cells in the body, the precursor cells involved in making sperm can be inadvertently wiped out leaving the patient infertile, said senior investigator Kyle Orwig, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Pitt School of Medicine, and an investigator at Magee-Womens Research Institute.

"Men can bank sperm before they have cancer treatment if they hope to have biological children later in their lives," he said. "But that is not an option for young boys who haven't gone through puberty, can't provide a sperm sample, and are many years away from thinking about having babies."

Even very young boys, though, have spermatogonial stem cells in their testicular tissue that are poised to begin producing sperm during puberty. To see whether it was possible to restore fertility using these cells, Dr. Orwig and his team biopsied the testes of prepubertal and adult male macaque monkeys and cryopreserved the cells from the small samples. The monkeys were then treated with chemotherapy agents known to impair fertility.

A few months after chemotherapy treatment, the team re-introduced each monkey's own spermatogonial stem cells back in to his testes using an ultrasound-guided technique. Sperm production was established from transplanted cells in nine out of 12 adult animals and three out of five prepubertal animals after they reached maturity. In another test, spermatogonial stem cells from other unrelated monkeys were transplanted into infertile animals, which created sperm with the DNA fingerprint of the donor to allow easy tracking of their origin. In lab tests, sperm from transplant recipients successfully fertilized 81 eggs, leading to embryos that developed to the morula and blastocyst stages, which are the stages that normally precede implantion in the mother's uterus. Donor parentage was confirmed in seven of the embryos.

"This study demonstrates that spermatogonial stem cells from higher primates can be frozen and thawed without losing their activity, and that they can be transplanted to produce functional sperm that are able to fertilize eggs and give rise to early embryos," Dr. Orwig said.

The findings are encouraging because several centers in the U.S. and abroad already are banking testicular tissue for boys in anticipation that new stem cell-based therapies will be available in the future to help them achieve pregnancy and have their own biological children.

"These patients and their families are the pioneers that inspire our research and help drive the development of new medical breakthroughs," Dr. Orwig said. He directs the Fertility Preservation Program in Pittsburgh, a unique collaboration between Magee-Womens Research Institute, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute that offers education and treatment options for children as well as adult men and women who are at risk of becoming infertile due to medical problems including cancer.

"Many questions remain to be answered," Dr. Orwig noted. "Should we re-introduce the spermatogonial cells as soon as treatment is over, or wait until the patient is considered cured of his disease, or when he is ready to start a family? How do we eliminate the risk of cancer recurrence if we give back untreated cells that might include cancer cells? These are issues we still must work through, but this study does show us the concept is feasible."

Co-authors of the paper include lead author Brian P. Hermann, Ph.D., David K. Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Angus W. Thomson, Ph.D., D. Sc., Gerald P. Schatten, Ph.D., and others from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as well as collaborators from the Oregon National Primate Research Center, University of California at Davis, ITxM Diagnostics in Pittsburgh, and CaridianBCT.

The project was funded by Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation, The Richard King Mellon Foundation, and National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grants: R01 HD055475, R21 HD061289, U54 HD008610, P01 HD047675 and K99/R00 HD062687.


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.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian P. Hermann, Meena Sukhwani, Felicity Winkler, Julia N. Pascarella, Karen A. Peters, Yi Sheng, Hanna Valli, Mario Rodriguez, Mohamed Ezzelarab, Gina Dargo, Kim Peterson, Keith Masterson, Cathy Ramsey, Thea Ward, Maura Lienesch, Angie Volk, David K. Cooper, Angus W. Thomson, Joseph E. Kiss, Maria Cecilia T. Penedo, Gerald P. Schatten, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Kyle E. Orwig. Spermatogonial Stem Cell Transplantation into Rhesus Testes Regenerates Spermatogenesis Producing Functional Sperm. Cell Stem Cell, 2012; 11 (5): 715-726 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.07.017

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Male fertility can be restored after cancer treatment, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101121538.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2012, November 1). Male fertility can be restored after cancer treatment, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101121538.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Male fertility can be restored after cancer treatment, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101121538.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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