The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has just published a summary of the current oncofertility research in their e-Advances section titled “Building an Artificial Ovary – A New Tool for Understanding Reproductive Biology and Preserving Fertility”. This is a great piece to read if you just want a basic idea of the research behind the oncofertility consortium, and where the program is headed!
Our lab has found that follicles (the reproductive unit containing the egg and supporting cells) maintain their natural shape if grown within the biomaterial alginate in the form of a hydrogel. This allows scientists to study follicles in vitro, which is useful to understand how the follicle interacts with its environment. Also, beyond basic science, this follicle culture system is being optimized so that it can be translated to clinical use.