Blocking differentiation in sperm stem cells to maintain their ability to regenerate – potential infertility treatment
You’ve just been given the devastating news that you have cancer and need to undergo treatment. The last thing on your mind as a young man in this situation, probably, is becoming a father, but the fact that cancer treatments can make you infertile is a very real prospect. A possible way to restore fertility in such individuals is with a spermatogonial stem cell transplant, but currently the technology is inefficient as many of the transplanted cells differentiate and don’t maintain their regenerative capacity to support meiosis and the creation of healthy sperm cells. However, by temporarily suppressing the differentiation of donor stem cells, the transplant is able to repopulate the testes with cells that can undergo spermatogenesis (shown in green in this mouse testis cross-section). This could unlock a range of potential applications by making the technology much more efficient and successful to bring hope to cancer patients.
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