An international team of researcher developed a new in-vitro fertilization technique that could soon replace existing treatment methods. The lead researchers, Associate Professor Robert Gilchrist, explained that “[t]his new treatment is a simpler, cheaper, more patient friendly infertility treatment compared to IVF.” The technique has been in its testing phase for the past 15 years, and will begin its human trials in approximately two years.
The improved IVM technique employs a special protein called cumulin, which was developed in the lab to mimic growth factor proteins of eggs in the ovary, combined with signalling molecules called cyclic-AMP (cAMP) modulators.
“What we’ve done is we’ve modelled a new protein which mimics the egg’s own unique protein that actually communicates with the cells that are supporting the egg during the maturation process,” co-researcher Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson, head of the University of Adelaide’s Early Development Group, told news.com.au.
“That substantially lifts the quality of embryos that are produced when we undergo this in-vitro maturation technique,” he says.
He says the new IVM method uses more than 90 per cent less hormones than in IVF, which could cut between a third to half of the cost associated with the treatment.
Standard IVF treatment requires women to take a hormone treatment to stimulate egg cell growth in the ovary — these hormones can cause great discomfort for women and can lead to medical complications such as ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome.
IVM, on the other hand, requires minimal hormone treatment and involves removing the egg from the ovary before it matures and growing it in a cell culture.
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