A method to increase pregnancy rates for treatment of infertility

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Technology Overview

Because of the trend toward delayed childbearing in the Western world, the age-related infertility, embryonic and fetal loss, as well as birth defects are common. The main cause of this type of infertility, as several findings implicate, is the decline in oocyte quality associated to cytoplasmic deficiencies and mitochondrial dysfunction. Although assisted reproductive technologies can circumvent many cases, their efficacy is limited by the number and quality of available oocytes calling for the development of additional sources of competent, patient-related oocytes.     


Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University discovered a novel method of generating functional human oocytes. The technique utilizes otherwise developmentally discarded first polar body (PB1) genomes for nuclear transfer (PBNT) which increase the yield of patient-matched viable embryos for transfer and thus increased pregnancy rates of approximately 40%. Additionally, given that PB1 hosts only a few mitochondria, the use of PBNT could be expanded to support mitochondrial replacement therapy, an approach to prevent maternal transmission of mtDNA-based disease.

Maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations, estimated to affect 778 newborns in US each year, result in mitochondrial dysfunction and may cause severe and life threatening disease with no effective treatment, such as Leigh Syndrome, MELAS or NARP. Therefore, mitochondrial replacement techniques have been developed to prevent pathogenic mtDNA transmission from mothers to their children. Although the estimated mtDNA carryover is less than 1-2 %, the potential of the postnatal bottleneck amplification remains a concern for in vitro fertilization following spindle transfer.


Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University developed a method to match donor and recipient mtDNA haplotypes to avoid preferential mutant mtDNA replication therefore limiting the probability of disease transmission.     



Mitalipov, S. et al. Functional Human Oocytes Generated by Transfer of Polar Body Genomes. Cell Stem Cell, 20, 112-119 (2016).


Mitalipov, S. et al. Mitochondrial replacement in human oocytes carrying pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations. Nature, 540, 270-275 (2016).


Licensing Opportunity

Technology 2347 is available for licensing and/or collaborative development.


If interested in learning more, please contact Technology Transfer and Business Development at techmgmt@ohsu.edu and reference Tech Id No. 2347.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michele Gunness
Senior Technology Development Manager
Oregon Health & Science University
(503) 494-8200
Shoukhrat Mitalipov
Nuria Marti-Gutierrez
Biological Materials - Cell Lines
Therapeutics - Reproductive
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