Slowing the Biological Clock
June 24, 2015
(MIT Technology Review) – years researchers believed that women were born with all the eggs they would ever have. That—and the fact that the quality of the eggs diminishes when a woman reaches her 40s—meant infertility was inevitable past a certain age. But in 2004, Jonathan Tilly and other researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that ovaries also contain egg precursor cells, which might, in theory, mature into new eggs or boost the health of existing ones. Now OvaScience, which Tilly cofounded—a member of this year’s 50 Smartest Companies list—is developing treatments for infertile couples. In its first commercially available approach, energy-producing mitochondria are transferred from egg precursor cells into mature eggs to rejuvenate them. These eggs are then used for in vitro fertilization. In May, the first baby was born to parents who tried this approach.
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