Scientists develop technology that could preserve fertility in boys with cancer

/ 05:02 PM April 12, 2017

Image: Forty percent of cells remained viable after six months. Image: FatCamera/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

Researchers at Washington State University in the United States, have developed a technique that could increase the viability of prepubescent boys’ sperm-producing cells by up to 40 percent. The study is published in the journal Cell Reports.

Loss of fertility is a common problem for cancer patients as treatments can render sperm infertile or lead to a lack of viable sperm in prepubescent patients.


The research, published in the journal Cell Reports, observed a gene specific to stem cells. This let the scientists watch the process of stem cell differentiation with mice, creating forerunners that eventually become sperm.

Early in the process, the scientists saw the stem cells creating energy through one method, called glycolysis, then switching to another method. The second method, called oxidative phosphorylation, produces free radicals, reactive forms of oxygen that can be particularly harmful to a cell’s DNA.


By lowering the oxygen level, by adding nitrogen to the culture, the researchers were able to considerably increase the percentage of stem cells capable of making normal sperm. Previously only 5 percent of cells remained viable after six months, but 40 percent were viable after using this technique.

The researchers will now be testing the process with human tissue. JB


Cyberporn, social media drive youth to early sex

TOPICS: Cancer, cancer patients, Fertility, Infertility
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.