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Freeze juvenile testicular tissue to preserve male fertility
At present, the incidence of cancer is getting higher and higher, and it is getting younger and younger. many people are not married and have children, but unfortunately fall ill. Because once suffering from cancer, the use of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other means are likely to damage the reproductive organs, affect the production of male or female hormones, resulting in infertility. In many cases, this kind of infertility is irreversible and will affect the patient for life. Frozen reproductive tissue can help patients recover their fertility after recovery.
At present, internationally, the technology of freezing ovarian tissue for female cancer patients has been relatively mature, and their reproductive ability can be preserved when the disease is cured and transplanted back into the body. In the world, many babies have been born in this technology.
In contrast, however, the development of testicular tissue preservation and replantation is much slower.
Institutions have emerged to help boys freeze testicular tissue in areas such as the United States and Israel, with an average age of 7.9 years, with the vast majority of patients suffering from malignant tumors or blood-related diseases, according to a 2020 investigative study. However, these institutions can only be removed and preserved, and the testes cannot be transplanted back with current technology.
But this is not hopeless.
As early as 2018, scientists conducted experiments with the primate rhesus monkey. In the five months before sexual maturity, the researchers cut two testicles and divided the testicles into small pieces for freezing and fresh preservation, and then replanted these tissues into the back of the rhesus monkey and under the skin of the scrotum.
Fortunately, after only a month, these tissues began to develop, and 80% of the testosterone of the experimental group that reached puberty was about the same as that of normal rhesus monkeys. Eight to 12 months later, these tissues are fully integrated with the surrounding environment, and convoluted seminiferous tubules appear in all tissues-the key structure in the testis and the place where sperm grow and develop.
A variety of cells supporting spermatogenesis (left) and sperm (right) are developed in the initial small pieces of testicular tissue.
In the end, 70% of the seminiferous tubules produced mature sperm, and the researchers transferred the fertilized eggs fertilized by their sperm into female rhesus monkeys and gave birth successfully.
Scientists predict that in the next few years, this method will enter clinical trials and help men who unfortunately suffer from cancer at an early age. We also look forward to the early realization of this technology for the benefit of human health.
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