For the first time, scientists have managed to grow mature human eggs from immature cells in the lab, a technique that may eventually help save the fertility of female cancer patients who aren’t eligible for traditional egg harvest.
Researchers from Northwestern University took immature egg cells, encased in a protective sac called a follicle, from 14 women who wanted to preserve their fertility before undergoing chemotherapy. By placing the cells in a unique three-dimensional growing environment for 30 days, the scientists coaxed the cells into becoming what appear to be healthy, functional human eggs.
“It is a major first,” said infertility expert Sherman Silber of St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, who was not involved in the research. “No one has yet tested the eggs by in-vitro fertilization and pregnancy, but they look quite normal and we are all excited about it.”
Read more: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/humanegg/
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