Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

First IVF Baby with New Embryo Screening Technique

Published: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The method uses the latest DNA sequencing techniques and aims to increase IVF success rates while being more affordable.

Dr Dagan Wells of Oxford University led the international team which has shown how 'next-generation sequencing' can be used to pick the embryos created by IVF that are most likely to lead to successful pregnancies.

The approach can identify embryos with the correct number of chromosomes and may cut hundreds of pounds off the cost of embryo screening, Dr Wells says, which currently adds £2000–£3000 to IVF treatments.

He will outline the development today at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting in London.

The work was a collaborative effort. It received significant support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Oxford. The collaboration also involved industrial partners, in particular the medical diagnostic company Reprogenetics UK.

The majority of embryos produced by IVF aren't able to lead to successful pregnancies, and scientists have sought to find ways of identifying the embryos that should be implanted to give the greatest chance of success.

How an embryo looks and how it develops during the first few days of life give some indication of its viability. However, many embryos turn out to have the wrong number of chromosomes – the packages of DNA we inherit from our parents. Having an incorrect number of chromosomes usually prevents embryos from producing a pregnancy. Until recently, such abnormalities have been hard to detect as they do not affect the appearance of embryos under the microscope.

Dr Wells, of the Institute for Reproductive Sciences in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, explained: 'Many of the embryos produced during infertility treatments have no chance of becoming a baby because they carry lethal genetic abnormalities. Next-generation sequencing improves our ability to detect these abnormalities and helps us identify the embryos with the best chances of producing a viable pregnancy. Potentially, this should lead to improved IVF success rates and a lower risk of miscarriage.'

Recently, a number of trials of various chromosome screening methods have shown that they can improve IVF success rates by around 30%. But the costs of these genetic tests remain a barrier to their widespread use.

This led Dr Wells and colleagues to look at the possibilities of using the latest in DNA sequencing technology to screen embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. In recent years, next-generation sequencing has seen massive reductions in costs, a trend that looks set to continue.

Dr Wells said: 'Results from randomised clinical trials carried out during the last year have suggested that most IVF patients would benefit from embryo chromosome screening. However, the costs of these genetic tests are relatively high, putting them beyond the reach of many patients. Next-generation sequencing could make chromosome testing more widely available, improving access by cutting the costs.'

Next-generation sequencing has been revolutionising research and clinical genetics in many areas, generating vast quantities of data. But it had not yet been applied to embryo screening because of the challenge of applying the techniques to DNA from a single cell. A single cell is all that can be safely taken from a few-day-old embryo for testing.

The researchers' approach involves sequencing DNA from multiple embryos all at the same time. Short DNA tags or 'barcodes' added to the genetic material from each individual embryo mean that the results could be identified uniquely and mapped back to the right embryo.

The researchers explicitly do not read out the whole DNA code for each embryo. They deliberately limit sequencing to around 2% of the embryo's DNA, more than enough to determine the number of chromosomes present, but insufficient to reveal the status of individual genes.

In the future, it should be possible to use the approach to check for chromosomal abnormalities and any serious inherited disorders at the same time, the researchers believe. Dr Wells said: 'Next-generation sequencing provides an unprecedented insight into the biology of embryos.'

An initial validation study showed extremely high accuracy rates for the DNA sequencing approach, says Dr Wells. The study involved seeing whether known chromosome abnormalities, gene defects or mitochondrial DNA mutations could be identified in small numbers of cells from laboratory cell-lines. And cells from 45 embryos, previously shown to be abnormal with another testing technique, were reanalysed by next-generation sequencing where the researchers were 'blinded' to the abnormalities present.

Dr Wells' team then worked with the Main Line Fertility Clinic in Pennsylvania, USA, and the fertility clinic of New York University in New York City to use the method in assessing the chromosomes of embryos produced by two couples undergoing IVF.

Cells sampled from seven five-day-old embryos (known as 'blastocysts') were screened, revealing three chromosomally healthy blastocysts for the first couple and two for the second.

In both cases, transferring one of these embryos led to a healthy pregnancy. The first pregnancy saw a healthy baby boy born in June. The second pregnancy is progressing well and is due to deliver in the next couple of months.

'Our next step is a randomised clinical trial to confirm the true efficacy of this approach,' said Dr Wells. He hopes that might start later this year through the Oxford Fertility Unit and the Lister Fertility Clinic in London.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Funding Boost for Diabetes Research
Programme of research could be a game-changer for people with Type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Ebola Vaccine Trial Begins in Senegal
A clinical trial to evaluate an Ebola vaccine has begun in Dakar, Senegal, after initial research started at the Jenner Institute, Oxford University.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
New Insight into Recombination and Sex Chromosomes
Not only does the platypus have some odd physical features, an updated version of its genome has also underscored the unusual genetic characteristics that it harbors.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Protein Clue To Sudden Cardiac Death
A protein has been shown to have a surprising role in regulating the 'glue' that holds heart cells together, a finding that may explain how a gene defect could cause sudden cardiac death.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Oxford Vaccine Group Begins First Trial of New Ebola Vaccine
Oxford University doctors and scientists are starting the first safety trial of an experimental preventative Ebola vaccine regimen being developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
New Vaccine Generates Strong Immune Response Against Hepatitis C
A new hepatitis C vaccine has shown promising results in an early clinical trial at Oxford University, generating strong and broad immune responses against the virus causing the disease.
Friday, November 07, 2014
Investment In Cancer Research At Oxford University
Centre for Molecular Medicine to focus on cancer genomics and molecular diagnostics, through a partnership with the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute.
Friday, October 24, 2014
A-maize-ing Double Life of a Genome
Study findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Genetic Tracking Identifies Cancer Stem Cells in Patients
The gene mutations driving cancer have been tracked for the first time in patients back to a distinct set of cells at the root of cancer – cancer stem cells.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Eating Organic Food Doesn't Lower Overall Cancer Risk
Women who always or mostly eat organic foods have the same likelihood of developing cancer as women who eat conventionally produced foods.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
New Trial of Personalized Cancer Treatment Begins in Oxford
Phase I trial in Oxford will investigate a new drug, called CXD101.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Interactive Map of Human Genetic History Revealed
Study identifies, dates and characterizes genetic mixing between populations.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
UK Scientists to Begin Trial of Potential HIV Cure
Scientists and clinicians from five leading UK universities will begin a groundbreaking clinical trial next year to test a possible cure for HIV infection.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Nanoparticles to Probe Mystery Sperm Defects Behind Infertility
A way of using nanoparticles to investigate the mechanisms underlying 'mystery' cases of infertility has been developed.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Scientists Break Blood-Brain Barrier to Allow Cancer Drugs In
Oxford University scientists have found a way of delivering drugs more effectively to treat life-threatening cancers that have spread to the brain.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Scientific News
The Changing Tides of the In Vitro Diagnostics Market
With the increasing focus in personalized medicine, diagnostics plays a crucial role in patient monitoring.
LaVision BioTec Reports on the Neuro Research on the Human Brain After Trauma
Company reports on the work of Dr Ali Ertürk from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at LMU Munich.
NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 Supplements for Cognitive Decline
Research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Less May Be More in Slowing Cholera Epidemics
Mathematical model shows more cases may be prevented and more lives saved when using one dose of cholera vaccine instead of recommended two doses.
Investigating the Vape
Expert independent review concludes that e-cigarettes have potential to help smokers quit.
NIH Launches Human RSV Study
Study aims to understand infection in healthy adults to aid development of RSV medicines, vaccines.
Researchers Discover Synthesis of a New Nanomaterial
Interdisciplinary team creates biocomposite for first time using physiological conditions.
Poor Survival Rates in Leukemia Linked to Persistent Genetic Mutations
For patients with an often-deadly form of leukemia, new research suggests that lingering cancer-related mutations – detected after initial treatment with chemotherapy – are associated with an increased risk of relapse and poor survival.
Flu Remedies Help Combat E. coli Bacteria
Physiologists from the University of Zurich have now discovered why the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) multiplies heavily and has an inflammatory effect.
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!