Researchers turn infertile men's skin tissue into sperm cells – Raw Story

Researchers at Stanford convert skin cells into stem cells, which became human sperm cells when transplanted into mice's testes
Scientists have turned skin tissue from infertile men into early-stage sperm cells in a groundbreaking study that raises hopes for new therapies for the condition.
The unexpected success of the procedure has stunned some scientists, because it was thought to be impossible for the men to make any sperm.
The men who took part in the study had major genetic defects on their Y sex chromosomes, which meant they could not produce healthy adult sperm on their own.
About 1% of men cannot make any sperm, a condition known as azoospermia, while a fifth of men have low sperm counts. Male fertility is a concern for roughly half of couples who seek IVF treatment.
In the latest study, researchers took skin cells from three infertile men and converted them into stem cells, which can grow into almost any tissue in the body. When these cells were transplanted into the testes of mice, they developed into early-stage human sperm cells.
"What we found was that cells from men who did not possess sperm at the time of clinical observation were able to produce the precursors for sperm," said Cyril Ramathal, of Stanford University.
Skin cells from infertile men grew into fewer early-stage sperm cells than cells taken from normally fertile men, the study found.
The research is at an early stage, but scientists suspect that the converted skin cells might have grown into mature sperm cells if they had been transplanted into the infertile men's testes.
If further work confirms the suspicion, it may be possible to restore male fertility by taking men's skin cells, turning them into stem cells, and injecting these into their testes. The same might be done for men who are left infertile after having chemotherapy for cancer.
"Being able to efficiently convert skin cells into sperm would allow this group to become biologic fathers," said Michael Eisenberg, director of male reproduction and surgery at Stanford, who was not involved in the study. "Infertility is one of the most common and devastating complications of cancer treatments, especially for young boys and men."
The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, suggests that rather than being unable to make healthy sperm, the men may simply have lost the population of stem cells in their testes that usually grow into sperm.
The scientists took skin cells from the men and produced batches of 1.5m induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to transplant into the mice. Each batch was injected into the seminiferous tubules in mouse testes, where sperm normally develop. The cells that lodged in the tubules developed into early-stage sperm cells, but others turned into small tumours. The danger of causing cancer in the men is one of the major risks that scientists need to overcome.
"It's remarkable that you can make iPS cells turn into early sperm cells in men with these genetic deletions," said Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at Sheffield University. "By the time we see them in clinic, they are not making sperm and don't have any stem cells to make them from, but that doesn't mean they didn't have them once.
"This work suggests these infertile men might have had testicular stem cells at some point, and the problem is that they cannot maintain them. So if you can make iPS cells and put them back into the man, you might be able to keep enough in the testes for them to produce some sperm. You'll never restore them back to normal, but they might have a few months or years of making sperm that's enough to give them fertility back," Pacey said.
In the UK, the use of artificially created sperm to make babies is banned. But sperm made through this technique – where converted skin cells are grown into sperm in the men's testes – may be legal to use as they are created inside the body.
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[Image: "Sperm And Egg Cell," via Shutterstock]
Donald Trump will be the subject of a narrow gag order in his federal elections case if Special Counsel Jack Smith gets his way, but there is a "less problematic" answer for Judge Chutkan, according to a former federal prosecutor.
Trump lashed out at Smith Friday night, both on social media and during a speech at a prayer summit, after Chutkan unsealed the request by Smith to limit what the former president says about the case. Trump also appeared to admit he lost the 2020 election at the prayer summit.
Numerous legal experts have suggested the gag order request was long overdue, but former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti suggested there is a better option to avoid some of the potential pitfalls that come with restricting Trump's speech amid a campaign.
POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?
"Jack Smith was smart to put Trump’s misconduct in front of the judge. She is not going to like it, and it certainly won’t make her more inclined to rule in his favor," Mariotti wrote Friday. "But Judge Chutkan would be wise *not* to impose a gag order. Instead she should move up the trial date."
He goes on to say that the "judge has extraordinary discretion over management of her trial calendar, and her scheduling orders are almost impossible to successfully challenge on appeal. Trump’s misconduct gives her a reason to move the date up, to reduce the impact of Trump’s misinformation."
Mariotti concluded:
"A gag order, by contrast, would be thorny given the First Amendment concerns. It would be prudent for the judge to sidestep those issues and instead use tools — like her trial calendar — that are less problematic."
Donald Trump said Friday night that he "lost" the 2020 election, before quickly saying he didn't lose because the contest was "rigged."
Trump, who is currently facing two criminal investigations — one in D.C. and one in Georgia — in connection with his behavior following his 2020 loss, spoke at a prayer summit Friday. Also in the speech, the former president lashed out at the special counsel for purportedly trying to take away the ex-president's Constitutional rights.
Trump also recapped what happened in 2020.
POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?
Trump said he did extremely well in 2016, and that he did "even better" the next election cycle. He lamented that he got more votes than the first time yet still "lost."
"We got 12 million more votes, and we lost!" Trump Friday said before catching himself. "Well, we didn't lose election. It was rigged."
Donald Trump on Friday night said that president Joe Biden and his "radical left thugs" are prosecuting him because he's leading in the 2024 election, and that "deranged Jack Smith" is trying to take away his First Amendment rights.
Trump, who earlier in the day lashed out at Smith in a post on Truth Social, was speaking at a Pray Vote Stand Summit when he called out Smith by name. Earlier in the day, it was revealed Smith had sought a "narrow" gag order against Trump to protect those involved in the trial.
The former president first mused about Smith's name, asking what he had changed it from.
POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?
Trump then said "deranged Jack Smith" was targeting him with the gag order request.
"He wants to take my First Amendment rights," he said during the political event. He then described circumstances in which he might be limited when speaking about the criminal charges during the political campaign.
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