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MU researchers to collaborate on $20 million project
Date:9/7/2007

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- More than 10 million people in the United State have cancer, and more than half of them are women. For those who could still give birth, cancer treatments might signal the end of their fertility. Now, a new $20 million, 5-year program from the National Institutes of Health is creating a national team of scientists to investigate every aspect of fertility preservation for women with cancer. Part of that effort is being led by University of Missouri-Columbia researchers.

The national research team will investigate womens fertility preservation from all aspects including preservation of eggs, cancer treatments, current policies and practices, information available to women, and healthcare decision-making. The project, led by Teresa Woodruff, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, includes more than 15 different institutions across the country.

MU researcher John Critser will receive approximately $1.25 million over five years to study cryopreservation methods of human eggs. The current methods are not efficient and there are many challenges in the cryopreservation process.

Its easy to freeze anything, but when biomaterial is frozen and thawed, the viability of the material is lost frequently, said Steve Mullen, a post-doctoral researcher in veterinary pathobiology. Most eggs in the ovaries are in the premature state, and in order to develop into mature and viable eggs, companion cells in the ovary are necessary. Therefore, freezing ovarian tissue, which is usually necessary for female fertility preservation, is very challenging because all of the different cell types must be preserved so that they can cooperate to mature the egg after the tissue is thawed.

Critser and Mullen, along with MU colleagues Danny Schust, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and womens health; James Benson, a graduate student in Department of Applied Mathematics; and Xu Han, a post-doctoral fellow in
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Contact: Christian Basi
BasiC@missouri.edu
573-882-4430
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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