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  • Skin sperm could help cure male infertility

    SCIENTISTS have created early stage sperm from the skin of men who cannot make their own, raising hopes of new treatments for currently incurable male infertility.

    A leading British expert said the stem cell research challenged the widely held view that the "door is closed" on men with the problem who want to have children.

    Although still at a very early stage, the study raises the future prospect of lab-grown sperm that could allow them to become fathers.

    Lead scientist Dr Reijo Pera, from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University, US, said: "Our results are the first to offer an experimental model to study sperm development. Therefore, there is potential for
    applications
    to cell-based therapies in the clinic, for example, for the generation of higher quality and numbers of sperm in a dish.

    "It might even be possible to transplant stem-cell-derived germ cells directly into the testes of men with problems producing sperm."

    Infertility often affects 10pc to 15pc of couples, and in men it usually has a genetic origin, most commonly the loss of key genes on the male Y chromosome.

    All three infertile men taking part in the new study had missing regions of Y chromosome DNA associated with the production of few or no sperm.
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