A Japanese group has brought the field of reproductive medicine one stride closer to the elusive goal of artificially generating oocytes in vitro, with a study detailing a suite of steps to convert a mouse skin cell into a mature oocyte ready for IVF. While the process yielded live, fertile pups, the group thinks the host of differences between mice and humans might slow translation of the results to the clinic.
Nevertheless, the researchers believe the mechanistic insights that can be gleaned using the process will prove important for creating new fertility treatments.
The breakthrough was described last month in Nature in a study led by Katsuhiko Hayashi at Kyushu University and funded in part by the Takeda Science Foundation, a public benefit corporation that aims to promote innovation in Japan. Hayashi is professor of developmental stem biology at the university.