Freezing juvenile testicular tissue to preserve male fertility

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Nowadays, the incidence rate of cancer is getting higher and higher, and it is getting younger and younger. Many people are not yet married and have children, but unfortunately they are suffering from the disease. Because once you suffer from cancer, the use of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other methods are likely to damage the reproductive organs, affect the production of male or female hormones, and cause the patient to be infertile. In many cases, this infertility is irreversible and affects the patient for life. Frozen reproductive tissue can help patients regain their fertility after recovery.

At present, internationally, the technology of freezing ovarian tissue for female cancer patients is relatively mature. After the disease is cured, it can be transplanted back into the body to preserve their reproductive ability. Many babies have been born with this technology around the world.

However, in comparison, the development of testicular tissue preservation and reimplantation technology has been much slower.

According to a 2020 survey study, institutions that help boys freeze testicular tissue have emerged in the United States, Israel and other regions. The average age of cryopreservers is 7.9 years old. Most of the patients suffer from malignant tumors or blood-related diseases. . However, these institutions can only remove and preserve the testicles, and cannot transplant the testicles back with current technology.

But it's not hopeless.

Back in 2018, scientists conducted experiments with primates, rhesus monkeys. The researchers cut two testicles five months before sexual maturity of the experimental monkey, divided the testicles into small pieces, frozen and freshly preserved them, and then replanted these tissues into the skin of the rhesus monkey's back and scrotum. under.

Fortunately, after only one month, these tissues began to develop, and the testosterone of 80% of the individual rhesus monkeys in the experimental group that grew to adolescence was almost the same as that of normal rhesus monkeys. After 8 to 12 months, these tissues have completely integrated with the surrounding environment, and all of them have seminiferous tubules - a key structure in the testicles where sperm grow and develop.



The initial small piece of testicular tissue develops a variety of cells (left) and sperm (right) that support spermatogenesis.


In the end, 70% of the seminiferous tubules produced mature sperm. The researchers also transplanted the fertilized eggs fertilized by their sperm into female rhesus monkeys and successfully produced them.

Scientists predict that in the next few years, this method will enter the clinical trial stage and help male patients who unfortunately suffered from cancer in childhood. We also look forward to the early realization of this technology to benefit human health.

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