A medical breakthrough means boys who undergo fertility-destroying cancer treatment could still have children of their own later in life.
Scientists have frozen testicular tissue from monkeys too young to produce sperm before successfully using it to produce a pregnancy leading to healthy offspring.
More than 80 per cent of children with cancer will survive – but 30 per cent of survivors will be infertile as adults.
Researchers say the method, called cryopreservation, is an early step in the effort to maintain the fertility of childhood cancer patients.
The scientists removed and froze testicular tissue from five rhesus macaques too young to produce sperm.
When the animals approached puberty, the researchers thawed the tissue samples and implanted them, along with a comparison set of fresh, unfrozen samples, back into the animals they came from.
A few months later, they removed the tissue implants and found that both the fresh and frozen tissue had produced sperm.
The researchers then isolated sperm from the previously frozen implants and used it to fertilise 138 eggs – of these, 41 per cent developed into early-stage embryos.
The researchers then transferred 11 embryos into female macaques, resulting in one pregnancy and subsequent live birth.
Lead researcher Professor Kyle Orwig, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the US, said: “The gold-standard proof of concept for any reproductive technology is the production of functional gametes and live offspring.
“In this study, we demonstrated that frozen and thawed prepubertal testicular tissue could be matured in vivo by grafting under the back skin or scrotal skin of the same animal to produce functional sperm and a healthy baby.
“One caveat to our study is that testicular tissues were grafted into castrated animals, which would not usually be the case with prepubertal cancer survivors.
“We castrated animals in this study because that is the only condition that produced sperm in previous nonhuman primate autologous testicular tissue grafting studies.
“Future studies are needed to confirm that graft development proceeds in a similar fashion in the scrotum or under the skin of individuals with intact testes.”
Prof Orwig said cryopreservation would not likely be appropriate for childhood leukaemia, lymphoma, or testicular cancer survivors in case cancerous cells were reintroduced to the survivor.
But it could be used for young patients with cancerous tumours or bone marrow, for example.
He said: “A second caveat is that testicular tissues collected before cancer treatment might harbour malignant cells.
“Therefore, the autologous grafting approach may not be appropriate for childhood leukaemia, lymphoma, or testicular cancer survivors.
“On the other hand, autologous testicular tissue grafting could be appropriate for patients receiving bone marrow transplants for nonmalignant conditions or patients with solid tumors, including sarcomas and neuroblastomas that do not metastasise to the testes.”
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The research team said although the study is small, it helps establish the concept of using immature testicular tissue to preserve fertility.
Prof Orwig added: “Human tissue studies as well as studies addressing the caveats outlined above are needed to understand the scope, safety, and feasibility of testicular tissue grafting in patients. ”
The findings were published in the journal Science.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.