Science prevails again as a breakthrough for infertility treatment has been made and scientists are now capable of creating human sperm in a lab for the very first time. If all goes well, the research will allow infertile men to have their own biological children in future.
The breakthrough was achieved by a startup biotechnology company, Kallistem that is based in Lyon, France. The company revealed the breakthrough earlier this year and has now taken out a patent that describes the technique in collaboration with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).
The procedure makes use of tissue that is responsible for producing sperm in testicles, seminiferous tubules, and then coaxing it in order to create mature sperm cells in a 72-day long process. For this particular study, the tissue specimens were collected from infertile men to demonstrate that this particular tissue from infertile males can be made to create sperm cells. The research still has to be peer-reviewed, however, was presented at a press conference in Lyon late last week. The process has been given the name of Artistem and enjoys the title of being the first time that a human sperm has been created in vitro.
The functionality of the sperm still has to be tested, however, the company claims that it looks ‘morphologically normal’. Tests still need to be carried out to determine where it stands when compared with the normal sperm. These trials have been slated for 2017.
According to CNRS, “This breakthrough opens the way for therapeutic avenues that have been eagerly awaited by clinicians for many years. Indeed, no treatment is currently available to preserve the fertility of young, pre-pubertal boys undergoing gonadotoxic treatments, such as certain types of chemotherapy. Yet more than 15,000 young cancer patients are affected throughout the world. Nor is there any solution for the 120,000 adult men who suffer from infertility that cannot be treated using existing technologies.”