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New technique could sustain cancer patients' fertility
Date:7/14/2009

e researchers started with so-called secondary follicles, which are at an intermediate stage of development. They collected them from the ovarian tissue of 14 cancer patients.

During the 30-day experiment, the follicle grew and produced hormones and the immature egg matured just as it would inside a woman's body. The researchers found that the follicles would grow if injected into a gelatin mixture. The gelatin (called alginate) provided three-dimensional support for the follicle, much like the support it receives inside the body.

"The researchers have demonstrated that the technique produces healthy eggs," said Charisee Lamar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.R.T., director of the Fertility Preservation Program in NICHD's Reproductive Sciences Branch. "The next step would be to investigate the viability of follicles from frozen tissue."

Another component of the NICHD program is attempting to grow follicles of monkeys in culture. The ability to do research on mouse and monkey follicles might lead to advances that could later be used to perfect the technique's use with human eggs.


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Contact: Robert Bock
bockr@mail.nih.gov
301-496-5133
NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Source:Eurekalert

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