Cure to infertility after cancer treatment 'in the works'
Scientists may have found a way to stop women becoming infertile after their ovaries are damaged from cancer treatment.
According to new research, a new technique could see females suffering from the disease able to have children despite undergoing treatments, and it may also be able to help restore fertility to those going through early menopause. Experts are positive about the "phenomenal" procedure and believe it would be a huge step forward in tackling the issue.
The team of experts, from the Medical College of Georgia in the US, practiced on mice. By using stem cells from bone marrow, they helped recover damaged ovaries in six rodents which had gone through chemotherapy. As the cells are considered 'blank', they are able to be reprogrammed into any other cell in the body, including those which repair injured tissue. By fixing the follicles in the mice's ovaries, it allowed eggs to still be produced.
Over two weeks the number of follicles in the mice had increased and they went on to reproduce healthy babies, researchers revealed during a presentation at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference in Baltimore. Although young women with cancer are able to start IVF or freeze their eggs before chemotherapy, due to the treatment starting so quickly many ladies don't have the time.
Fertility experts are optimistic about these results, with Dr Geoffrey Trew, of Imperial College London, describing them as "promising". "It also may be able to improve egg quality and reduce miscarriage risk," he added, while Dr Edgar Mocanu, consultant gynaecologist at Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, said: "This could open phenomenal opportunities for women."