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Monkey birth a step to saving fertility of boys with cancer

Posted at 4:38 PM, Mar 21, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists are testing a possible solution to help boys undergoing cancer treatment preserve their future fertility - and it worked in a monkey.

More people are surviving childhood cancer but nearly 1 in 3 will be left infertile from chemotherapy or radiation. Young adults sometimes freeze sperm, eggs or embryos before cancer treatment. But children diagnosed before puberty can't do that because they're not yet producing mature eggs or sperm.

University of Pittsburgh researchers tested a different approach. They froze some immature testicular tissue from a young monkey. Later, they used it to produce sperm that, through a monkey version of IVF, led to the birth of a healthy female monkey named Grady.

The team hopes to begin human studies soon.

The research was published Thursday in the journal Science.