Researchers question treatment of infertility with stem cells

February 4, 2015 by Carina Eliasson, University of Gothenburg

New studies by Swedish researchers at institutions including the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institute are questioning the notion that infertility can be treated with stem cells.

Whether or not infertility can be treated with stem cells has been a matter of debate for many years. The classical theory is based on the idea that the a woman has are the ones she has had from birth, but there are researchers who claim that could lead to the creation of new eggs. If so, this would mean that infertile women, such as those who have entered the menopause, could be given new eggs.

New research questions theory

New studies done by researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institute now show that the dream of successfully treating infertility with stem cells will probably not be realised. These new research studies have been published in the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"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 ," says Kui Liu, a researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg.

Stem cell treatment unrealistic

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 Professor Liu's laboratory have carried out experiments on mice showing that the only eggs female mice have are the ones they have from 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 ," says Professor Kui Liu.

Explore further: Identifying the biological clock that governs female fertility

More information: "Life-long in vivo cell-lineage tracing shows that no oogenesis originates from putative germline stem cells in adult mice." PNAS 2014 111 (50) 17983-17988; published ahead of print December 1, 2014, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1421047111

Related Stories

Identifying the biological clock that governs female fertility

October 28, 2014
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have identified the biological clock that governs female fertility. The discovery represents a major contribution to research aimed at finding medical approaches to treating infertility ...

Different eggs in adolescent girls and adult women

February 26, 2014
Are the eggs produced by adolescent girls the same as the ones produced by adult women? A recent study published in Human Molecular Genetics by Professor Kui Liu from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden shows compelling ...

Researchers identify molecule that protects women's eggs

October 7, 2014
A new study led by Professor Kui Liu at the University of Gothenburg has identified the key molecule 'Greatwall kinase' which protects women's eggs against problems that can arise during the maturation process.

New IVF breakthrough

September 24, 2012
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have discovered that a chemical can trigger the maturation of small eggs to healthy, mature eggs, a process that could give more women the chance of successful IVF treatment in ...

Making sperm from stem cells in a dish

August 4, 2011
Researchers have found a way to turn mouse embryonic stem cells into sperm. This finding, reported in the journal Cell in a special online release on August 4th, opens up new avenues for infertility research and treatment. ...

Recommended for you

Treating spinal pain with replacement discs made of 'engineered living tissue' moves closer to reality

November 21, 2018
For the first time, bioengineered spinal discs were successfully implanted and provided long-term function in the largest animal model ever evaluated for tissue-engineered disc replacement. A new Penn Medicine study published ...

'Longevity protein' rejuvenates muscle healing in old mice

November 21, 2018
One of the downsides to getting older is that skeletal muscle loses its ability to heal after injury. New research from the University of Pittsburgh implicates the so-called "longevity protein" Klotho, both as culprit and ...

New mechanism controlling the master cancer regulator uncovered

November 21, 2018
Who regulates the key regulator? The Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences reports online in the journal Science about a newly discovered mechanism by which RAS proteins, central to cancer ...

AI matched, outperformed radiologists in screening X-rays for certain diseases

November 21, 2018
In a matter of seconds, a new algorithm read chest X-rays for 14 pathologies, performing as well as radiologists in most cases, a Stanford-led study says.

Study bridges a divide in cell aging in neurodegenerative diseases

November 21, 2018
Research from the University of Toronto has shown that in some neurodegenerative diseases, two hallmarks of cell aging – protein aggregation and a type of DNA instability – are linked. They were previously thought to ...

A Trojan horse delivery method for miRNA-enriched extracellular vesicles

November 20, 2018
A method for large-scale production of extracellular vesicles enriched with specific microRNAs (miRNAs) has been developed in the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) labs, offering a manufacturing standardization ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.