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Cryopreservation techniques bring hopes for women cancer victims and endangered species
Date:9/10/2008

ation, which has led so far to 25 women worldwide having ovarian tissue transplanted. Of these 25, five have given birth to babies following the successful transplantation of the frozen/thawed ovarian tissue, including two in Belgium, one in Israel, and two in Denmark. "We are likely to see a lot more of this coming in the coming years, including development of techniques for fertility preservation using different approaches," said Andersen. Most of these women had lost fertility following treatment for various forms of cancer. Currently more than a thousand women globally have had their tissue cryopreserved in an attempt to preserve fertility. This number is likely to increase in future as the transplantation technology becomes more mature and widely available.

The approach used most widely so far for cryopreservation involves slow freezing, which minimises the damage caused by forming ice crystals to the follicles, the reproductive units containing the individual oocytes (eggs). However a new approach based on vitrification may achieve even better results, with both methods discussed at the ESF conference. Vitrification involves the conversion of ovarian tissue into a glass-like form without the damaging ice crystals, and can be achieved by very rapid freezing, for example by dowsing in liquid nitrogen. This supercools the water in the tissue, achieving a semi-solid form without formation of the crystals that destroy individual cells.

The ESF workshop will help give Europe a healthy base to expand cryopreservation research by unifying the human and animal sectors and applying common expertise and tools." I believe that we had a very good interaction between all participants and the workshop has already established new collaborations and interactions," said Andersen.


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Contact: Claus Yding Andersen
yding@rh.dk
453-545-5822
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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