Researchers from UGA’s College of Public Health have published a research study in the journal Fertility and Sterility wherein the discussion revolves around male infertility. This condition may seem very awkward for many but it is turning out to be a huge concern for others. As majority of men are finding out about their infertility and shortcomings of treatment, a team decided to use stem cells to create a clinical infertility therapy. It is the first time that scientists have been able to develop completely functional sperm cells using primate embryonic stem cells. The new stem cell-based therapy can create viable stem cells, thereby treating male infertility.
In the previous studies, the researchers had used mouse stem cells to create sperm cells but as the rodent reproductive system is different from the humans the study was considered invalid. In the latest study, the team used embryonic stem cells of the rhesus macaque monkeys to develop undeveloped sperm cells, which is also known as round spermatids. The detailed study showed that these spermatids had the potential to fertilize an egg. However, this study proved relevant and successful in creating embryos.
As the rhesus monkey has a reproductive system similar to the humans, the new stem cell therapy proved effective in treating male infertility. The researchers confirmed the effect of in vitro created spermatids by studying its ability to activate and fertilize the egg to develop a healthy embryo. The next step is to check if a healthy rhesus monkey could be produced. After the success of this study, the team plans to use macaque skin cells to create spermatid-like cells.