Tech

Breakthrough as monkey is born from frozen testicular tissue

By Zayneb Benyoucef. news reporter

A baby monkey, Grady, is the first one to be born from experimental technology using frozen testicular tissue.

The scientists successfully froze and then thawed testicular tissue using a technique that could offer hope to young cancer patients.

Professor Kyle Orwig and his team have worked years for this achievement.

"Well, her name's Grady, which stands for graft derived baby," he said.

"She was born on 16 April of last year and now she is 11 months old and she plays and behaves just like every other monkey that was born in a normal way," said Prof Orwig.

The experiment saw the scientists, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, remove a testis from five young rhesus macaques and freeze the testicular tissue.

Image: Grady was born in April 2018

The animals then underwent chemotherapy. As they approached puberty, the tissue samples were thawed by the researchers and implanted back in the monkeys – along with fresh tissue from the remaining testis.

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After a few months, the tissue had produced sperm, which was then used to generate embryos and transferred to females.

Prof Orwig's main goal was to keep sperm-producing cells safe from the cancer treatment.

Sperm is produced during puberty when there are hormonal changes which activate an increase in testosterone.

Treatments like chemotherapy can lead to infertility. While it is possible for men to freeze their sperm ahead of any such treatment, pre-pubescent males are too young to produce it

Grady's father was subjected to chemotherapy at just three years old. Before he got the treatment, researches removed testicular tissue removed before he reached maturity.

"We used some of the sperm, that was freshly isolated to fertilise eggs and that worked, but we did not establish a pregnancy that time.

"So we froze the rest of the sperm and then some months later we came back, brought that sperm out and fertilised eggs and that time we were successful to establish a pregnancy and finally to produce a healthy baby," Prof Orwig said.

It's an achievement lead scientist Professor Kyle Orwig and his team have worked years for.
Image: Professor Kyle Orwig led the team of scientists

The study was published in journal Science

The University of Pittsburgh and a few other hospitals have been freezing young boys' testicular tiRead More

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