London - Scientists have given hope to infertile women after they successfully repaired a damaged womb.
About six percent of women who need fertility treatment have a problem with their womb, often caused by injury or surgery to remove fibroids and polyps.
Their only hope at the moment is to have a womb transplant, which means taking powerful anti-rejection drugs. But now scientists have made a breakthrough, in rabbits, after regrowing part of a womb using the animals’ own cells, and using it to repair the damaged organ.
Four out of ten rabbits this was trialled on became pregnant and gave birth to kits of a normal weight. If a woman’s own cells could be used to regrow part of her womb, she would not need drugs to stop her immune system rejecting it.
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While transplants from live or deceased donors have enabled live births in humans, a lack of donor organs and the need for immunosuppressive drugs to support the transplanted uterus limit its use, the Irish News reported.
Dr Anthony Atala, principal investigator of a study on the technique from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said: "This approach may provide a pathway to pregnancy for women with an abnormal uterus."
Darren Griffin, professor of genetics at the University of Kent, who was not involved in the research, said the results were "highly significant" with "great potential" for women.
But he added: "Rabbits are well known for their fecundity, and we do not yet know how successful this approach will be for humans." The study was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.