Quality-of-life issues gaining prominence as long-term cancer survival rates increase More than 80 percent of radiation oncologists discuss the impact of cancer treatments on fertility with their patients of childbearing age, which can lead to improved quality of life for young cancer patients who are living much longer after their original diagnosis thanks to modern treatment options, according to a study in Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO), the official clinical practice journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). In the past, the clinical focus for young cancer patients was strictly survival. With the success of today's treatment options, these same patients are going into cancer remission and living long, cancer-free lives; this has shifted the clinical focus from strictly survival to survival plus long-term quality of life issues.
Scientists at University College Dublin have discovered a new way of measuring the potential success rate of an embryo before it is transferred back into the womb during in vitro fertilisation (IVF). According to the findings published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the fluid within a woman's ovaries that surrounds the egg or oocyte holds metabolic information that can improve predictions on which embryo is more likely to lead to pregnancy. "We analysed samples of the follicular fluid surrounding the immature ovum or egg before it was retrieved for IVF, " says Dr Lorraine Brennan, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland. "We identified clear metabolic differences between the follicular fluids from women who successfully achieved pregnancy as a result of IVF to the fluids from the women who did not.
A novel system for processing embryos during IVF treatment has been shown to significantly improve the chances of pregnancy - by more than a quarter. Pioneered by a Newcastle team of fertility experts at the University and within the NHS, the innovative design of interlinked incubators provides a totally enclosed and controlled environment within which every step of the IVF process can be performed. Research published in the journal PLoS ONE reveals that the introduction of the new system into the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, part of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, resulted in a 27% increase in pregnancy rate compared with conventional equipment used in IVF treatment labs. Traditionally, in IVF procedures embryos are cultured in incubators, which provide a controlled environment.
For the first time, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have isolated egg-producing stem cells from the ovaries of reproductive age women and shown these cells can produce what appear to be normal egg cells or oocytes. In the March issue of Nature Medicine, the team from the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at MGH reports the latest follow-up study to their now-landmark 2004 Nature paper that first suggested female mammals continue producing egg cells into adulthood. "The primary objective of the current study was to prove that oocyte-producing stem cells do in fact exist in the ovaries of women during reproductive life, which we feel this study demonstrates very clearly, " says Jonathan Tilly, PhD, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology in the MGH Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who led the study.
Mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to autism-like behaviors that were exposed to a common flame retardant were less fertile and their offspring were smaller, less sociable and demonstrated marked deficits in learning and long-term memory when compared with the offspring of normal unexposed mice, a study by researchers at UC Davis has found. The researchers said the study is the first to link genetics and epigenetics with exposure to a flame retardant chemical. The research was published online in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. It was presented during a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) by Janine LaSalle, a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the UC Davis School of Medicine and the UC Davis Genome Center.