In vitro activation of primordial follicles: a novel improved method to treat female infertility
|Umeå Biotech Incubator AB
|Funding from Vinnova
|SEK 2 000 000
|July 2010 - December 2012
Purpose and goal
The aim of this project is to verify the commercial potential of a new innovation - in vitro activation (IVA) of primordial follicles, a regimen that releases a key brake target molecule in the ovary which awakens dormant primordial follicles to mature. The objective is to commercialize IVA as an effective therapy for infertile women to obtain mature eggs in vitro.
Results and expected effects
About 10-15% of all couples of reproductive age suffer from infertility, and in more than 2/3 of these cases the female partner is affected. Dr. Liu has shown that inhibiting a target brake molecule that inhibits egg maturation, through brief exposure of human ovarian tissue in vitro, is sufficient to activate and awaken dormant primordial follicles. Many of these patients are currently in need of eggs obtained from donors; thus, having a child carrying the genetic material of the egg donor. By using IVA in a new treatment protocol, specialists could potentially harvest mature eggs in vitro from the pool of primordial follicles possessed by every woman since birth. This method offers treatment, not only to women of infertile couples but also to women suffering premature ovarian failure (POF), where no eggs are available to respond to the hormone injections currently used in IVF. Further, the method (in combination with cryopreservation of eggs) also offers a new possibility of preserving fertility in cancer patients who cannot be given hormone treatment. Furthermore, the method may also help in the conservation of endangered animals.
Approach and implementation
The IVA method needs further testing in two animal species (mice and cow) and studies on human safety and effectiveness before commercialization.