'Safer' Kisspeptin IVF Shows Promise
By Sarah Thomas | July 21, 2014 12:33 PM EST
A naturally occurring hormone, kisspeptin, was injected into a woman's ovaries to produce eggs. This hormone stimulates ovulation and makes the eggs mature. The treatment proved effective and the twelve babies were born after the women were administered the treatment. UK doctors say that it is a potentially safer way of getting eggs for use in IVF.
Wiki Commons/Ed Uthman
New Technology Can Help Prospective Parents Meet Their Baby Even before it's Conceived (Wiki Commons/Ed Uthman)
Normally another hormone, hCG is administered for this purpose. But it is seen that in some women there is a risk of overstimulation of the ovaries which can lead to kidney failure ultimately resulting in life-threatening consequences
A study to test the new method was funded by the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research and the Wellcome Trust. It was conducted by scientists at Imperial College London and clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study tested 53 healthy volunteers at Hammersmith Hospital London. Eggs were successfully collected from 51 women, of whom 12 have since given birth.
The problem of infertility is high in the UK with nearly one in six couples experiencing infertility. Several women undergoing the IVF treatment and nearly a third of the IVF patients are affected by Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Researchers look towards kisspeptin as a potential treatment for infertility, preventing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), but larger trials are needed to fully assess safety.
"OHSS is a major medical problem. It can be fatal in severe cases and it occurs in women undergoing IVF treatment who are otherwise very healthy. We really need more effective natural triggers for egg maturation during IVF treatment, and the results of this trial are very promising," said Professor Waljit Dhillo, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, who led the study.
Kisspeptin was found to be an essential hormone involved in the menstrual cycle without which people will not reach puberty. It also has several advantages over hCG, which remains in the blood for a much longer time post injection resulting in overstimulation. Kisspeptin is gentle and is broken down fast, so the risk of overstimulation is much lesser.
The hormone proved successful when 51 out of 53 women in the study developed mature eggs, 49 had fertilized embryos transferred to the uterus and 12 became pregnant. "It was the best outcome you could have wanted, it was a really triumphant moment," said Dhillo.
Researchers aim at a second study in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, they have the highest risk of OHSS. "Our study has shown that kisspeptin can be used as a physiological trigger for egg maturation in IVF therapy. It's been a joy to see 12 healthy babies born using this approach. We will now be doing more studies to test whether kisspeptin reduces the risk of OHSS in women who are most prone to developing it, with a view to improving the safety of IVF therapy," informed Dhillo.
Prof David Adamson, of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, said that the study was interesting as it identified an additional new drug that could potentially make IVF, an already safe procedure, even safer. "Other effective strategies to prevent OHSS are already in clinical practice, and the new drug would have to go through large clinical trials to confirm its efficacy, safety and equivalence to these other medications currently in use," he added.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Join the Conversation
- Australia to Host Human Tests for New Brain Tumour Treatment
- Ebola Vaccine Shows High Immune System Response In Early Tests; Australia Lifts Travel Ban on Congo
- Girl Gives Free Testicle Exams On International Men’s Day For Charity, Simple Pickup Donates To Movember
- Movember Ends With Shave-Off
- Viral 'Do They Know Its Christmas?' Video With Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Sam Smith Raises $1.5 Million For Ebola In Minutes
- Target’s ‘Surprise Doorbusters’ Black Friday 2014 Deals On TV Sets, Entertainment Centres, DVD Players And More
- IKEA Black Friday 2014 Ad Includes Discounts On Home Furnishings, Appliances, Kitchen Designs, Beds, Sofas, Mattresses And Toys
- T-Mobile’s Black Friday 2014 Deals On Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4/Edge, Nexus 6, HTC One M8, LG G3, iPad Air 2 And Mini 3
- Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sale 2014: AT&T's Cricket Wireless Offers Discounts On Lumia 1320, Galaxy S5, S4 And HTC Desire 510
- ISIS Kidnaps Iraqi Defence Minister’s Family, Executes Female Parliament Candidates
- ISIS Drug Transit From Afghanistan To Europe Confirmed By Russia: Money Goes Into Terror Funding And In New Recruitments
- '$2,000 For Sex'—Pleads Unlucky-in-Love Guy On OKCupid