New fertility treatment for men and women being developed at Ben-Gurion U
NEW YORK, May 8, 2018 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers are developing a new, single-dose treatment which may improve both male and female fertility.
The new treatment stimulates the expression of telomerase, the enzyme that is responsible for maintenance of DNA sequences at the tip of a chromosome (called telomeres) that affect cell lifespan and also contribute to infertility. The novel treatment re-elongates the telomeres and protects cells from damage, thereby increasing cell viability while increasing the likelihood of fertilization, embryo generation and implantation. The treatment is applied as a single dose and dissipates within 24 hours. The compound was tested on mice and showed no toxic effects in animal studies.
The global fertility services market is expected to exceed $21 billion by 2020 according to a report published by Technavio.
The groundbreaking technology was developed by Prof. Esther Priel of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences in collaboration with the Soroka University Medical Center In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Laboratory.
"We've evaluated the efficacy of the new compound in mice and found that a single dose greatly improves fertility in both female and male mice," said Prof. Priel. "One dose speeds up egg maturation and ovulation, increases the number of ovulated eggs, and results in a larger number of viable offspring."
The compound is a member of a family of several telomerase-activating compounds that were found to affect several degenerative diseases, developed in a research collaboration between Prof. Priel and emeritus Hebrew University researchers Prof. Shimon Slavin and Dr. Aviv Gazit.
"The compound also showed a protective effect on ovaries and testes of mice undergoing radiation, suggesting that it might be able to protect and improve the fertility of women and men undergoing radiation therapy for cancer," she says.
"The promising preclinical results and especially the fact that a single dose was sufficient to demonstrate the efficacy of the compound could lead to a highly accessible treatment option," says Dr. Ora Horovitz, senior vice president of business development at BGN Technologies, the technology-transfer company for Ben-Gurion University. "We are now seeking a collaboration for further development of this promising treatment through human clinical trials and commercialization."
About BGN Technologies
BGN Technologies is the technology-transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. BGN Technologies brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN Technologies has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, high-tech and cleantech, and has initiated leading technology hubs, incubators and accelerators. Over the past decade, BGN Technologies has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations, securing value and growth for Ben-Gurion University as well as the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.
AABGU, which is headquartered in Manhattan, has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information, visit http://www.aabgu.org