Doubt over stem-cell based infertility treatment
Sunday 19 November, 2017
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Doubt over stem-cell based infertility treatment

Published On: Wed, Feb 4th, 2015 | Stem Cell Research | By BioNews

A new study by a Swedish institution suggests that infertility cannot be successfully treated with stem cells.
The study, by researchers at institutions including the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institute in Sweden, casts doubt on an old theory that it is possible to create new eggs with the help of stem cells.

“Ever since 2004, the studies on stem cell research and infertility have been surrounded by hype,” says Kui Liu, a researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg.

“Ever since 2004, the studies on stem cell research and infertility have been surrounded by hype. There has been a great amount of media interest in this, and the message has been that the treatment of infertility with stem cells is about to happen. However, many researchers, including my research group, have tried to replicate these studies and not succeeded. This creates uncertainty about whether it is at all possible to create new eggs with the help of stem cells,” says Kui Liu, a researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg.

Dr. Kui Liu is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg. His group specialises in the study of the genetic and epigenetic regulation of female germ cell development. Research in recent years has covered both preclinical basic research and the transfer of the results generated from studies of mouse models to clinically applicable techniques for treating female infertility. Image credit: University of Gothenburg

Dr. Kui Liu is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg. His group specialises in the study of the genetic and epigenetic regulation of female germ cell development. Research in recent years has covered both preclinical basic research and the transfer of the results generated from studies of mouse models to clinically applicable techniques for treating female infertility. Image credit: University of Gothenburg

According to the old theory that the Swedish researchers are questioning, infertile women, such as those who have entered menopause, could be given new eggs.Together with Outi Hovatta’s research group at Karolinska Institute and Jan-Åke Gustafsson’s research team at the University of Houston in the United States, staff at Liu’s laboratory carried out experiments on mice that showed that the only eggs female mice have are the ones they have had since birth.

“This shows not only that the use of stem cell research in the clinical treatment of childlessness is unrealistic but also that clinics should focus on using the eggs that women have had since birth in treating infertility,” says Professor Kui Liu.

“This shows not only that the use of stem cell research in the clinical treatment of childlessness is unrealistic but also that clinics should focus on using the eggs that women have had since birth in treating infertility,” says Professor Liu.

These new research studies have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Reference:

Hua Zhang, Lian Liu, Xin Li, Kiran Busayavalasa, Yan Shen, Outi Hovatt, Jan-Åke Gustafsson, and Kui Liu, Life-long in vivo cell-lineage tracing shows that no oogenesis originates from putative germline stem cells in adult mice, PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1421047111.

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