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Study Finds New Way to Preserve Fertility

Medical News Today,  Oct 3, 2012

An article published by PLoS ONE suggests inhibiting the PTEN molecule, a cell-growth regulator, can cause immature eggs to mature.

Researchers led by Professor Kui Liu at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have recently discovered that a chemical PTEN inhibitor can aid in healthy egg growth by shutting off the mechanism that naturally regulates cell growth.

An unprecedented approach to fertility preservation, this new method involves freezing slices of ovarian tissue containing small, immature eggs which are then matured via the PTEN inhibitor to be used in later IVF cycles. This process could give more women a chance at successful future in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, particularly women and young girls about to endure cancer treatment therapy who otherwise may not have considered fertility preservation.

The research team studied the effects of the PTEN inhibitor on mice and astonishingly produced five healthy offspring. "This discovery demonstrates that there is a realistic chance of being able to use PTEN inhibitors to activate small eggs in a test tube," says Professor Liu.

The study results show that not only were the mice born fertile but clear of significant health issues at 15 months follow-up; 70 years in human age.

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