Creating hope for childless SCIENTISTS in the region; A breakthrough in medical science is offering new hope to couples unable to conceive. Health Reporter HELEN RAE explains.Byline: HELEN RAE
SCIENTISTS in the region have created a world first by using stem cell stem cell
In living organisms, an undifferentiated cell that can produce other cells that eventually make up specialized tissues and organs. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. research to create human sperm, it was revealed today.
The sperm, which was grown in a lab, may lead to future treatments for men who are infertile in·fer·tile
Not capable of initiating, sustaining, or supporting reproduction.
adj unable to produce offspring. and offers fresh hope to couples unable to conceive.
But it will not be used to create human babies - and will not mean the end of men, they said.
A team of 20 researchers, led by Prof Karim Nayernia at Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI NESCI North East England Stem Cell Institute (UK) ) have developed a new technique to grow sperm from embryonic stem cells.
Researchers saw the cells, which were treated with acid, begin to split and divide then eventually push out a tail and begin to move.
They called for the introduction of laws "sooner rather then later" to control how the research is used.
Prof Nayernia said: "This is an important and exciting development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men.
"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own.
"It will also allow scientists to study how cells involved in reproduction are affected by toxins."
It is believed that within the next five to seven years infertile men could be helped by the pioneering research.
The team also believe studying the process of forming sperm could lead to a better understanding of how genetic diseases are passed on.
"Infertility in men has been rising in the last 20 years, particularly in the Western world, and this could be down to a number of factors," explained Prof Nayernia. "This research is the first system which is able to look at the genetic and environmental influence, which is a key issue when looking into infertility."
The IVD (Interactive VideoDisc) See interactive video. sperm will not and cannot be used for fertility treatment.
Prof Nayernia added: "While we can understand that some people may have concerns, this does not mean that humans can be produced 'in a dish' and we have no intention of doing this."
Marileine Ollerenshaw, North East development officer for Society for the Protection of Unborn Children Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is a pro-life organization in the United Kingdom and several other countries.
In New Zealand, SPUC changed its name to "Voice for Life" in August 2004. , said: "This is another way of destroying the naturalness of family life.
"Trying to cure an illness through the use of embryonic stem cells is something we are not in favour of."
Male infertility facts
MORE and more men aged 50-65 are now attending fertility clinics, with men over 40 making up nearly a quarter of consultations.
Up to half of all cases of infertility involve problems with the man. In fact, about 20% to 30% of the time, a man's low fertility is the main obstacle to conception.
Causes of male infertility may include: low sperm count sperm count Urology A measure of the concentration of sperm in semen Normal ±100 million/mL. See Post-vasectomy sperm count, Semen analysis. , sperm that are abnormally shaped or that don't move correctly, undescended testicle or an underlying medical problem.
Sometimes the cause of male infertility cannot be identified. But in more than one-half of cases of male infertility can be corrected.While we can understand some people may have " concerns, this does not mean humans can be produced 'in a dish' and we have no intention of doing this
RESEARCH: Prof Karim Nayernia, leader of the Newcastle University project