WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. March 27, 2014 Scientists have moved a step closer to being able to preserve fertility in young boys who undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer. The new research, published in Fertility and Sterility, the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, addresses the safety of an option scientists are developing for boys who aren't sexually mature and cannot bank sperm.
Scientists aim to freeze a sample of the boys' testicular tissue so that when they reach adulthood, spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) found in the tissue can be reproduced and transplanted back into the patients. These cells are responsible for sperm production throughout adulthood.
"Our study addressed an important safety issue whether cancer cells that might be present in testicular tissue samples can survive the process to replicate the sperm-producing stem cells," said lead author Hooman Sadri-Ardekani, M.D., Ph.D., an instructor in urology and regenerative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
"This is an important consideration because of the potential to re-introduce cancer into the patient," he said. "The research, which involved one of the most common childhood cancers, shows that the cancer cells were eliminated. Based on these findings, we recommend that all boys with cancer be offered the option of storing testicular tissue for possible future clinical use."
Sadri-Ardekani performed the work with researchers at the University of Amsterdam and Avicenna Research Institute in Tehran, Iran, before joining Wake Forest Baptist.
Cancers that can have a high risk of infertility, depending on the treatment, are certain leukemias, Hodgkin's disease, brain tumors and bone cancer. Because of the high survival rates of childhood cancer close to 80 percent more cancer patients than ever are reaching adulthood and many face fertility problems.
The current research involved
|Contact: Karen Richardson|
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center