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.
|Contact: Claus Yding Andersen|
European Science Foundation