London, July 13, IRNA-An Iranian professor has hailed a stem cell research he led on mice as a new breakthrough in helping to treat male infertility.
"For the first time we have created life using artificial sperm. This will help us to understand how men produce sperm and why some men are unable to do this," Karim Nayernia said.
He said that the research was "particularly important in helping us to understand more about spermatogenesis, the biological process in which sperm is produced." "We must know this if we are to get to the root of infertility," said the professor of stem cell biology at Newcastle University in northeast England.
The breakthrough in which mice produced seven babies is reported in the latest edition of the US academic journal Developmental Cell as having potential applications in the treatment of male infertility.
Nayernia, who led the research with other professors while in his previous position at Georg-August University in Gottingen, Germany, describes how they developed a new strategy for generating mature sperm cells in the laboratory using embryonic stem cells from mice.
"If we know more about how spermatogonial stem cells turn into sperm cells, this knowledge could be translated into treatments for men who are unable to produce mature sperm, although this is several years down the line," he said.
As an example, the professor, originally from Shiraz in southern Iran, said that a patient's spermatagonial cells could be isolated using a simple testicular biopsy before being transplanted back after being encouraged in the laboratory to be functional sperms.
"Spermatogonial stem cells are extremely promising and more research is needed to establish their full potential," he was quoted as saying in a press release from Newcastle University.
Stem cells have the potential to develop into any tissue type in the body and could therefore be used to develop a wide range of medical therapies, he said.
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