If confirmed, this is a world first that offers hope to infertile men to have more children one day thanks to reproductive health. For the first time, complete human sperm would have been obtained by culturing in vitro cells taken in the testes of men unable to produce naturally.
In healthy men, these stem cells, called spermatogonia produce male gametes after a differentiation process which takes 72 days. A process called spermatogenesis, that biologists have been trying for fifteen years to reproduce in the laboratory.
But so far, rather than full sperm, they had managed to get the abnormal form gametes, headless or without flagella (the “tail” that allows them to swim to the egg).
A SECRET TECHNIQUE OF CELL THERAPY HAS ACHIEVED COMPLETE SPERM
This is now done! In any case, this announcement was made this morning startups Kallistem, afterthe Institute of Functional Genomics of Lyon . At the origin of this biological feat, researchers Philippe Durand (director Kallistem) and Marie-Hélène Perrard (CNRS and Kallistem), in collaboration with engineering polymer materials Laurent David (professor at the University Claude Bernard).
How do they do it? Only available the information provided by the company because no scientific studies detailing these results has been posted yet. Kallistem has developed a cell therapy device called Artistem, patent protected since late June.
IN THE BIOREACTOR, SPERMATOGENESIS IS REPRODUCED AS IN THE HUMAN BODY
This is a “bioreactor”, a tube of flexible polymer of a centimeter in diameter, filled with a hydrogel containing water and chitosan – a substance obtained from chitin, which comprises the exoskeleton of crustaceans.
In this bioreactor, biologists are inserting collected tissue in the testes, called seminiferous tubules: this is where spermatogonia develop into sperm. To reproduce this natural process, it ensures that the architecture of the seminiferous tubules, crowded against each other, be maintained as in the human body.
After 72 days incubation at 33 ° C and in a suitable culture medium at a pH of 7.2 to 7.4, spermatogenesis is complete and sperm were formed.
MANY TESTS ARE NEEDED
But beware: before declaring victory, it will prove that sperm grown and are functional -qu’ils manage to fertilize an egg – and they are used to generate embryos and healthy babies.
therefore the tests will start, first on rodents, then on human gametes to check these two crucial points. Then the company will begin clinical research by testing with men suffering from infertility.
THE IN VITRO SPERMATOGENESIS WOULD BE A SOLUTION FOR INFERTILITY CASES SO FAR WITHOUT MEDICAL ISSUE
If this technique passes the tests, spermatogenesis in vitro provide a solution to all men unable to conceive by natural means, but have spermatogonia. They are 120,000 in the world to be affected by infertility that technology does not allow for the time to resolve.
Furthermore, this technique could help the boys undergoing chemotherapy to cancer before the age of puberty, so before their testicles do not develop. From fabrics to their testicles, sperm could be grown and then frozen to perform in vitro fertilization later. More than 15 000 children worldwide affected by his chemotherapy that damages their testicles.