Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Medical | By

Researchers develop artificial ovary to prevent infertility among women suffering with cancer

Researchers develop artificial ovary to prevent infertility among women suffering with cancer

These artificial ovaries could even help the women having health conditions like the blood ailment beta thalassemia or multiple sclerosis, which usually need dynamic fertility-harming treatments.

For adult women, the option is to freeze their eggs before risking the destruction of their ovarian tissues through cancer treatments. When they're cancer-free, the tissue will be put right back on, the women can go through the normal process of pregnancy, then birth - they will be able to deliver naturally.

It is hoped this engineered structure could be re-implanted into women and restore fertility after they have completed chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

The decellularised scaffold was made up of a mix of the proteins and collagens left behind. Stuart Lavery, consultant gynecologist at Hammersmith Hospital, sees the artificial ovary as an enormous stride forward with distinct advantages over IVF and egg freezing.

According to BBC News, a team of scientists at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen has developed a new technique to provide options and reduce the risk for women who have uterine or ovarian cancer.

"This is the first time that isolated human follicles have survived in a decellularized human scaffold and, as a proof-of-concept, it could offer a new strategy in fertility preservation without risk of malignant cell re-occurrence", said Dr. Susanne Pors, who led the Rigshospitalet team.

A paper presented Monday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology shows how scientists are creating the framework for artificial ovaries. Next, early stage follicles are thawed and reintroduced into the scaffold in the lab.

He added that the new technique transplants only the eggs and surrounding cells of the follicle (seeded into a matrix) back into the uterus.

Per the Guardian, scientists have created an artificial ovary out of human tissue and eggs, and that ovary's performance on tests is encouraging. This scaffold she explained originates from the woman's own tissues or from donated tissues.

A review published this year by Pors and her co-authors reported that a total of 318 women worldwide had undergone ovarian tissue transfers, with nine receiving a diagnosis of cancer afterward (in all cases not directly caused by the procedure).

Speaking to The Guarian, Pors said: "This is the first proof that we can actually support these egg cells. It's an important step along the road", Pors said. Renewed hormonal function occurred in 95% of these women, and more than 100 children have been conceived after the tissue transfers. It would most expectantly take about five to ten years of rigorous work before the artificial ovaries get completely prepared for human use.

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