Breaking News
May 27, 2018 - Breast cancer survivors do not receive recommended level of screening after surgery
May 27, 2018 - Recommendations Developed for Managing Postpartum Pain
May 27, 2018 - Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) | Arthritis Basics | Arthritis Types | Arthritis
May 27, 2018 - ‘Life support’ for transplant livers better than freezing: study
May 27, 2018 - Tree nut consumption linked to improved type 2 diabetes health
May 27, 2018 - Income and education gap causes racial differences in health behaviors, study shows
May 27, 2018 - Even at ‘Safe’ Levels, Air Pollution Puts Seniors at Risk
May 27, 2018 - Obstructive sleep apnea linked to thinning of calvaria, skull base
May 27, 2018 - Epigem’s Managing Director sets the bar for life sciences industry at VentureFest
May 27, 2018 - CPAP may reduce resting heart rate in prediabetic patients
May 27, 2018 - Study reveals striking disparities in health care access and quality across most nations
May 27, 2018 - The Yogi masters were right—meditation and breathing exercises can sharpen your mind
May 27, 2018 - SLU researcher aims to find solutions for diabetes patients at risk of hypoglycemia
May 27, 2018 - Scientists uncover the cause of insulin resistance in obesity
May 27, 2018 - $2.3 million NIH grant to support new project on oxytocin neurons and social behavior
May 27, 2018 - Less Driving Tied to Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk
May 27, 2018 - Genetics Home Reference: LMNA-related congenital muscular dystrophy
May 27, 2018 - Long-term psychological study confirms time is the best medicine against homesickness
May 27, 2018 - Study explores if CPAP treatment can improve sexual QOL for sleep apnea patients
May 27, 2018 - Study investigates role played by brain in prosocial behavior
May 27, 2018 - New Guidelines Mean 1 in 3 Adults May Need Blood Pressure Meds
May 27, 2018 - Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
May 27, 2018 - Kids in tough neighborhoods head to ER more often
May 27, 2018 - Exercise alters brain’s dopamine system to help treat addiction, study finds
May 27, 2018 - Sepsis patients treated and released from ED for outpatient follow-up experience good outcomes
May 27, 2018 - Initiative cuts overuse of tests, treatments for bronchiolitis
May 27, 2018 - Study links ‘sleep spindles’ to memory reactivation
May 27, 2018 - Scientists develop new method to speed up genome evolution of baker’s yeast
May 27, 2018 - Sunscreen pills are fake says FDA
May 27, 2018 - Study finds increasing wealth gap between households of seniors and families with children
May 27, 2018 - Link between tuberculosis and Parkinson’s disease discovered
May 27, 2018 - Doctors call on health authorities for permission to provide stroke patients with life-saving treatment
May 26, 2018 - Couples who eat seafood-rich diet tend to get pregnant faster
May 26, 2018 - NIH summit presents recommendations to accelerate treatment development for Alzheimer’s disease
May 26, 2018 - Medication-related harm found to be common among older adults, but preventable
May 26, 2018 - Lunaphore and Vitro announce partnership to develop ISH protocols for RNA, DNA targets
May 26, 2018 - Cryoablation Efficacious for Cancer Pain, Review Finds
May 26, 2018 - Link between IBD and Parkinson’s might allow doctors to slow down condition
May 26, 2018 - Study finds fewer than 5% of low-income, urban mothers use prenatal vitamins before pregnancy
May 26, 2018 - California hospitals urge moms to favor breast milk over formula
May 26, 2018 - Most concussion patients do not receive follow-up care after hospital discharge, says study
May 26, 2018 - Lifetime risks of developing Alzheimer’s dementia vary by age, gender
May 26, 2018 - Researchers find novel ways to improve participation in clinical research
May 26, 2018 - Researchers develop methods for measuring free-base nicotine levels in e-cigarettes
May 26, 2018 - AHA: Preterm Birth Could Warn of Mom’s Future Heart Risks
May 26, 2018 - Some calories more harmful than others
May 26, 2018 - Study links cell size with commitment to division
May 26, 2018 - Researchers develop new, rapid blood test to detect liver damage
May 26, 2018 - Researchers discover cascade of immune processes linked to poor outcomes in aggressive breast cancer
May 26, 2018 - New research will use mathematics to solve mysteries in cell biology
May 26, 2018 - Proposed National Resilience Strategy to reverse catastrophic increases in ‘deaths of despair’
May 26, 2018 - Mice remain slim on burger diet
May 26, 2018 - BMC receives $13.5 million award to test methods for delivering childhood anxiety treatment
May 26, 2018 - ‘Right to Try Act’ will not benefit terminally-ill patients
May 26, 2018 - Study reveals novel statistical algorithm to identify potential disease genes
May 26, 2018 - Two genes play vital roles in malignant brain cancer
May 26, 2018 - Study explores link between groundwater lithium and diagnoses of bipolar disorder, dementia
May 26, 2018 - Researchers reveal stimulatory effects of myelin on young neural cells
May 26, 2018 - Small part of cellular protein that helps form long-term memories also drives neurodegeneration
May 26, 2018 - Four-legged friends can have heart issues, too
May 26, 2018 - Scientists create small, self-contained spaces inside mammalian cells
May 26, 2018 - Better Social Support Network Protects Black Men Against HIV
May 26, 2018 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
May 26, 2018 - Burnout, depression can affect ophthalmology residents, study finds
May 26, 2018 - Latinos and African Americans more likely to experience serious depression than Whites
May 26, 2018 - Data from past epidemic could help improve response to future Ebola outbreaks
May 26, 2018 - Researchers provide insight into how the memory molecule limits brain plasticity
May 26, 2018 - OSU biologist describes ‘restoration ecology’ approach toward patient health
May 26, 2018 - New approach to study brown fat could aid in finding treatments for obesity
May 26, 2018 - UCI Center on Stress & Health receives NIH funding to develop digital health interventions
May 26, 2018 - Could More Fish in the Diet Boost Sex Lives and Fertility?
May 26, 2018 - NTU Singapore and SERI invent new scope to diagnose glaucoma
May 26, 2018 - Cancer cells co-opt pain-sensing ‘neural channel’ to increase tolerance against oxidative stress
May 26, 2018 - Study uncovers why pesticide exposure increases Parkinson’s disease risk in some people
May 26, 2018 - Study finds link between lead exposure and fertility rates
May 26, 2018 - Causes and treatment of acute heart failure vary by region, registry shows
May 26, 2018 - Delivery of standardized diabetes care could help achieve equitable health outcomes for all patients
May 26, 2018 - FDA authorizes marketing of OsteoDetect software for detecting wrist fractures
May 26, 2018 - HSE experts suggest new way of looking at infantilism
May 26, 2018 - Children and adolescents growing up in extreme societal conditions more likely to resort to violence
Transplant of ovarian tissue frozen years ago holds hope of life

Transplant of ovarian tissue frozen years ago holds hope of life

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Ovarian tissue that was frozen a decade ago was implanted last week in a 25-year-old cancer survivor who hopes that reviving the tissue from suspended animation will allow her to start a family.

The procedure – which involves myriad disciplines in medicine, cell biology and surgery – is known as an ovarian transplant and was performed at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, marking a series of “firsts.”

It was the first ovarian transplant on Long Island, the first performed anywhere on an outpatient basis and the first such transplant to involve a surgical robot.

A team accomplished the two-hour procedure recently, led by Dr. Kutluk Oktay, the surgeon-scientist who was the first in the world to perform the technique nearly two decades ago at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, now part of the NewYork-Presbyterian Regional Hospital network. This time around, the multi-armed Da Vinci surgical robot was instrumental in the transplant.

“I developed the procedure and my first case was in 1999; it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine,” said Oktay, an attending physician at NYU Winthrop and a leading expert in the field of fertility preservation. He also is a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.

He studied with scientific teams in this country and abroad to create a method of preserving fertility for young women diagnosed with cancer and at risk of never having children. Harsh cancer therapies induce menopause, and hence infertility.

The good news: About 90 babies have been born via ovarian transplants since the early 2000s.

Oktay’s patient at NYU Winthrop, whom he has known since 2007, did not want to disclose her name. But she gave her doctor permission to convey highlights of her long and arduous medical journey.

“She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 15, which required a bone marrow transplant. Patients receive huge doses of chemo and radiation, which can wipe out all of the eggs,” Oktay said. “Prior to her leukemia treatment, I removed one of her ovaries, which contained all of the immature eggs at that time.”

Ovaries are twin reproductive organs, each about the size of a walnut, that produce ova, or egg cells. Each egg cell possesses 23 chromosomes, which is the maternal half of a baby’s full genetic dowry of 46. Each parent donates 23 at the moment of conception.

In 2007, key portions of the patient’s surgically removed ovary were finely cut into what the doctor described as 15 to 20 “slivers” – super-thin grafts of ovarian tissue that were preserved by freezing .

Each graft, Oktay explained, was treated with the cryoprotective agent dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO, which prevents crystal formation in cells. Left untreated, ice crystals would form and puncture the cells, rendering them useless.

“You don’t want to freeze the whole ovary,” Oktay said. “The immature eggs are on the surface, so we peel off that layer. This is what we cut into tiny slivers.”

Each sliver was placed in small vials about the size of a lipstick tube and then into canisters that were placed in a liquid nitrogen chamber. The temperature can be dropped to an otherworldly minus 140 degrees Celsius, which is about minus 220 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly as cold as the surface of Jupiter.

“We use a program of slow-freezing, slowly bringing down the temperature,” Oktay said. “We use slow freezing so there is no shock to the cells.”

The cryopreserved specimens can remain indefinitely in a state of suspended animation and thawed when women are ready for them. The grafts were stored at Manhattan CryoBank, a cell and tissue repository.

Oktay’s patient contacted him recently to begin the process, which is geared toward restoring ovulation and the flow of reproductive hormones.

“She has gotten married and wants to start a family,” Oktay said. “So we are trying to help her.”

For Oktay, perfecting a method to preserve fertility for women who have had cancer is the result of years of effort. He studied with researchers in Britain before working with patients in Brooklyn, and also while on staff at Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Adding the Da Vinci robot to the procedure is new and allows the tissue grafts to be introduced into the patient through a smaller incision via the robot’s tiny “hands.” Oktay implanted about 14 of the preserved grafts into his patient’s remaining, menopausal ovary.

Fertility doctors worldwide have long suggested that the technique has possibilities for women with other medical conditions that have debilitating therapies, or for women who want to postpone childbirth.

Rosaria Ruttenber, 39, who was treated twice for Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic tissue, said ovarian transplantation worked perfectly. Her daughter, Juliana, was born in 2014.

Ruttenber, who lives in Norwalk, Connecticut, said her right ovary was removed 16 years ago and cryopreserved before she underwent cancer treatment when she was 23. Through in vitro fertilization, her preserved eggs were merged with her husband’s sperm. The couple now has seven cryopreserved embryos.

“It has been a long road and well worth it. Looking back, I am glad we did it,” said Ruttenber, who is looking forward to trying for a second child.


Explore further:
Is ‘ovarian tissue freezing’ superior to egg freezing?

Journal reference:
New England Journal of Medicine

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles