Researchers have made a scientific step forward in possible alternative male fertility treatments. Studies have shown that bone marrow can be cultured into early sperm cells. Although preliminary, the results are promising.
For the experiment, Northeast England Stem Cell Institute Professor Karim Nayernia and his team extracted bone marrow from male volunteers. They then isolated from the bone marrow the mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells have previously been found to grow into other body tissues such as muscle.
The cultured mesenchymal stem cells were then turned into immature sperm cells. In men, immature sperm cells develop into mature, functioning sperm. In this experiment, the growth of the cells stopped at this most preliminary stage.
This research built upon previous research of the group that showed that mouse bone marrow could be used to create immature sperm cells. Dr. Nayernia also had previous success in converting mouse embryonic stem cells into sperm cells that were successfully used to fertilize mouse eggs that resulted in seven live births.
Illustration: MicroSoft clipart.
Science Daily (04/13/07)
BBC News (04/13/07)
Drug Researcher (04/16/07)