Fertility hope after cancer
Scientists have found a way to awaken dormant ovarian follicles, possibly making more eggs available for reproduction during a woman’s lifespan – more eggs would significantly raise the odds of older or infertile women becoming pregnant.
As chemotherapy can affect reproductive capabilities, cancer patients who have had ovarian tissue frozen prior to chemotherapy, for instance, might benefit. “It’s long-term work to see if this method works as well in humans, although we have already seen it can activate human dormant follicles in our study,” said study lead author Jing Li, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University Medical School. “We hope that aging women, women who have frozen ovarian tissues prior to undergoing cancer treatments, or women with premature ovarian failure could benefit from our research.”
According to background information in the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, human ovaries start with about 400,000 follicles each but only about 1,000 follicles are activated each month. The rest remain dormant. By the time of menopause, less than 1,000 follicles remain. It’s not clear why some of the follicles remain dormant, but previous research has shown that the PTEN and PI3K genes are involved.
SOURCES: Jing Li., Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif.; George Attia, M.D., director, division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; May 17-21, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Great to see these advances being made in the area of onco-fertility.
Very Promising Marie…very promising! Hugs Luann
Great to read all about this