In a novel approach at preserving fertility, researchers have successfully produced live offspring from cryopreserved testicle tissue.
You may think that cryopreserving testicle tissue is kind of a stretch- but many cancer patients undergoing treatments don’t have options when it comes to preserving fertility. Doctors can cryopreserve sperm if the patient has already reached puberty, but for young boys, that’s not an option.
By cryopreserving testicle tissue, researchers are able to thaw tissue at a later date and induce the production of sperm. This research was carried out in mice, and through artificial insemination, eight healthy offspring were produced! Amazingly, thawed tissue was able to produce sperm just as well as unfrozen tissue.
There’s still some work to be done before this research can be translated into humans. But as more and more pediatric cancer patients are being successfully cured of their diseases, this research could mean life-changing, long-term fertility options. Read more about it here:
A novel treatment proves successful in patients with INCURABLE cases of leukemia! 59 patients who had exhausted all other treatment options were treated with a new therapy at UPenn. Out of 32 adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), 15 responded to the treatment and 7 experienced complete remissions. All of the 5 first adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) experienced complete remissions!
But the most amazing results were seen in pediatric cancer patients! Out of 22 patients with ALL, 80% experienced complete remissions! And keep in mind- these were all patients whose cancer was completely resistant to all other types of chemotherapy and who would have died.
Here’s how it works: T-cells are collected from the patient and are then genetically modified so that they target tumor cells. These modified T-cells are then infused back into the patient, where they begin to do their jobs. Because the T-cells are made to target only the proteins expressed on cancer cells, normal cells are left alone. And these T-cells remain in the body, protecting patients from relapse! (Check out link below for details.)
Please take a minute and watch the videos in the below links- definitely worth your time! Amazing what research can do!
Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that occurs in approximately 1 in 40,000 children, usually affects kids in their first year of life. The disease causes progressive brain damage and muscle weakness, and cause of death is usually due to respiratory failure. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Leigh disease, and children with this disease rarely live past their 6th or 7th birthdays.
Mouse models of human diseases give researchers a way to look at potential treatments or therapies. Rapamycin, a transplant anti-rejection drug, unexpectedly showed some promising results with mouse models of Leigh disease! The average lifespan of this mouse model is 50 days, but after daily rapamycin injections, these treated mice lived over twice as long as untreated mice! Coordination and breathing were substantially improved as well.
There are far fewer drugs available for pediatric diseases than there are for adult illnesses- and this could be a great breakthrough! After determining that this drug works to alleviate symptoms of the disease in mice, researchers can now focus on the mechanisms involved in order to develop a drug treatment regimen that would be appropriate for human patients. A benefit is that rapamycin is already approved for use in humans, so a treatment might not be too far off. Let’s hope that this works!