Stem cell therapy makes sterile mice fertile again

Stem cells from the ovaries of young mice were implanted into older, sterile mice. Six out of eight subsequently got pregnant.

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

Researchers at Shanghai's Jiao Tong University have conducted an experiment involving stem cells and sterile mice. Germline stem cells -- the building blocks of an egg -- were taken from a young mouse and implanted into the ovary of a mouse that had been sterilized. Five to eight weeks later, and this implanted mouse was mated with a healthy to see if pregnancy would occur. The experiment, which tested eight such mice, found that six of the group managed to fall pregnant and deliver healthy offspring.

The thinking, as outlined by Science News, is that such a technique could eventually be used to help sterile women conceive. That's probably a few decades away, but the fact that germline stem cells have been proven to work in this context marks a big step forward. Other projects, too, are seeing similar positive results. It was less than a week ago that news broke about a 3D-printed ovary that carried a mouse pup to term. In addition, researchers at Children's Hospital, Philadelphia, developed an artificial womb that was used to help save the lives of premature infants.

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