6/2/2015 12:16:46 PM
|written By : Staff Reporter|
Laboratory grown sperm cells might be the solution for men with fertility issues.
A company in France recently claimed to have successfully turned scraps of genetic material into complete fully-functioning sperm - a world-first.
If the breakthrough can be verified, it may prove life-changing for the tens of thousands of men around the world who cannot produce their own sperm.
The Kallistem laboratory, a private research facility based in Lyon, claimed it would be able to carry out human clinical trials within two years. If commercialised, the firm hopes to treat 50,000 patients a year, a market it that could be worth £1.7 billion.
But the findings have not been published, peer reviewed or independently verified – leading to skepticism amongst the research fraternity.
Kallistem said it had managed to transform basic male fertility cells, called spermatogonia, into mature sperm in test tubes. Isabelle Cuoc, the firm’s CEO, said: ‘Kallistem is addressing a major issue whose impacts are felt worldwide: the treatment of male infertility. Our team is the first in the world to have developed the technology required to obtain fully formed spermatozoa [sperm] in vitro with sufficient yield for IVF. This is a major scientific outcome that enhances both our credibility and our development potential. We are targeting a global market worth several billion euros in which there are currently no players.”