Researchers are developing a technique for transplanting frozen testicular tissue to allow boys, rendered infertile by cancer treatment, to have children as adults.
Grady is not a baby monkey like the others: this young primate was born thanks to the transplantation of testicular tissues, taken from his father when he was young, and reimplanted to adulthood. The promising technique could help prevent children with cancer from being sterile in adulthood. The results of this experiment, conducted in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, appeared in the journal Science.
In vitro fertilization
Kyle Orwig, director of research, and his team collected testicular tissue from five monkeys that were not yet of childbearing age: their testicles did not yet produce sperm. All these samples were frozen until puberty of the primates. There, they were grafted. Less than a year later, the tissues again produced testosterone and sperm. Scientists have used in vitro fertilization to create an embryo.
200 boys ready to benefit from this technique
Previously, scientists had already tested this technique on mice and pigs. Grady, born in April 2018, is under continuous observation and for a long time, because the researchers want to make sure that its development is normal before considering a development on the human.
30% of boys treated for cancer will be sterile at puberty, this is a side effect of chemotherapy. Thus, this method could allow them to have children as adults. Researchers have already anticipated this possibility: more than 200 boys, treated for cancer, have frozen testicular tissue in 2011, in order to have this method when it is available. According to Kyle Orwig, she could be here in 5 years.
In a study published in @sciencemagazine Kyle Orwig, PhD, wrote how a team of researchers from the US and Canada produced the first monkey from cryopreserved testicular tissue. //t.co/DoUZHuPMWT- UPMC Physician Ed (@UPMCPhysicianEd) March 22, 2019