Exciting progress in development of artifical ‘ovaries’

Exciting progress in development of artifical ‘ovaries’

Early research by Danish scientists suggests artificial ovaries might one day be available to young cancer patients unable to naturally conceive.

The "groundbreaking" experiment was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting in Barcelona on Monday and is due to be published as a study in a peer-reviewed journal. The team showed that the immature eggs and tissue scaffold could reintegrate and survive in this scaffold, and it could then be grafted into a living host - in this case a mouse.

A woman can opt to remove and freeze her eggs and then attempt in-vitro fertilization at a later stage or she can remove the ovarian tissue before treatment, have it frozen and then re-implant it once she has finished treatment, CNN noted.

A "bio-engineered" ovary would reduce this risk, the research team from Rigshospitalet said.

Experts said the "exciting" technique needed to be tested in humans.

The procedure would ostensibly be used by women undergoing toxic cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, which has the potential to cause infertility.

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For the first time in a breakthrough that promises hope for infertile women, scientists have developed "Artificial" human ovaries. They removed cancer cells from the ovarian tissue, leaving behind a "scaffold" made up of proteins and collagen, BBC News reported. But scientists said using the original frozen tissue runs the risk of the cancer returning - this risk is high for patients with leukaemia and cancers originating in the ovary.

There are also implanted artificial ovaries, that can help women with a diagnosis, such as multiple sclerosis or with the blood disorder beta thalassemia, which usually require therapies which are aggressive and which can harm fertility.

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". This could be the great future in which cancer patients are able to carry babies to term after being through radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

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

Study's author and postdoctoral fellow, Susanne Pors from the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology at the University Hospital of Copenhagen Rigshospitalet said in a statement, "We have now done the first important steps towards constructing a cancer-free ovary.We have many more studies to do, but this is a proof-of-concept showing that human eggs can survive on a newly constructed scaffold".

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