A new paper by members of the Oncofertility Consortium is featured in this week's Wired Magazine. "A Fertility First: Human Egg Cells Grow Up in Lab" talks about a new paper featured in Human Reproduction. The new paper, titled In vitro grown human ovarian follicles from cancer patients support oocyte growth by Min Xu; Susan L. Barrett; Erin West-Farrell; Laxmi A. Kondapalli; Sarah E. Kiesewetter; Lonnie D. Shea; Teresa K. Woodruff discusses how researchers here at the Oncofertility Consortium have learned to grow human ovarian follicles in an external environment.
The researchers were trying to develop a way for the in vitro (in a controlled environment outside of the body) growth of undeveloped follicles (a fluid-filled sac containing an immature egg) as a way to restore fertility in women who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy to fight cancer. For the investigation, the researchers took out secondary follicles from human ovarian tissue donated by 14 different cancer patients ranging from 16 to 39 years old. The follicles were then grown in a specially-designed bio-engineered culture for 30 days.
The researchers found that the follicles developed from the secondary stage to the antral stage (the final stage of growth of an oocyte which then develops into an egg). Therefore, the results of the study indicated that it was possible for follicles to continue development even when not in the human body. This is encouraging but more research needs to be done to see whether these oocytes can eventually be fertilized.
To read the paper, click here.
To read the Wired piece, click here