Artificial Ovaries Bring New Hopes For Young Cancer Patients

  • Artificial Ovaries Bring New Hopes For Young Cancer Patients

Artificial Ovaries Bring New Hopes For Young Cancer Patients

Professor Nicholas Macklon, from the University of Southampton, said artificial ovaries could become available to patients in clinical trials within three years.

It would be a huge relief for women whose ovaries are damaged by gruelling radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Reproductologists "built" a fragment of tissue for transplantation, clearing the ovarian tissue from the "sick" cells with chemicals and transplanted it in the developing follicles of the female body.

To eliminate that risk, scientists from the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, took ovarian follicles and ovarian tissue from patients due to have cancer treatment.

This represents further progress in preserving a woman's fertility from the impact of cancer treatments, experts say.

"This is the first time that isolated human follicles have survived in a decellularised human scaffold", said Susanne Pors, who presented the work at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESGRE) annual meeting in Barcelona today.

Prepubertal girls or women who need urgent treatment before they produce eggs, rely on ovarian tissue, which contains thousands of immature eggs in fluid-filled sacs called follicles, to be preserved instead with the aim of transplanting it after treatment. This new method shows promise for women undergoing cancer treatments who are wanting to conceive after their treatment.

A team of Danish reproductive biologists has developed a new technique for building a tissue scaffold that mimics a human ovary yet contains no cells.

Removal of these cells left a "scaffold" of the original tissue. "This is early days for the work but it's a very interesting proof of concept".

He added that the new technique transplants only the eggs and surrounding cells of the follicle (seeded into a matrix) back into the uterus.

If the testing on humans prove to be successful in the future, these artificial ovaries could be the answer to cancer-surviving women getting pregnant "naturally", as opposed to IVF where an egg is fertilized in a laboratory and then returned to the womb.

Though this approach might work, he concluded that "it is not possible to tell until the data from this research group have been peer-reviewed by the scientific community and published in a scientific journal".

Most cases of fertility preservation where ovarian tissue is frozen are performed ahead of cancer treatment. Per the Guardian, scientists have created an artificial ovary out of human tissue and eggs, and that ovary's performance on tests is encouraging.

This is perhaps the only treatment for preserving fertility in women.