Combing Out the Cellular Fertility Details

At the most recent (2006) meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, frequent references could be heard about cellular advances being the latest high road to success in fertility treatment. A recent finding by researchers in Canada and the U.S. is further proving that may be the case. Dr. Richard Oko of Queen's University in Ontario is now working on further development of possible uses for Postacrosomal sheath WW domain binding protein, or more simply put, PAWP. Specifically, Oko and Drs. Warren Foster of McMaster University and Peter Sutovsky of University of Missouri-Columbia are aiming at making intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) work better with the help of PAWP. The dance that egg and sperm do in the baby-making show is all about the right signals being transmitted at the right time, in the right places. It's far more complicated than a couple of sex cells bumping into each other. For a long time, science has tried to locate something that seems to activate the egg cell and prepare it for fertilization by sperm. Now, they think they've found it in the form of PAWP. While ICSI is a technological marvel in and of itself, rendering cellular level fertility to countless men who would otherwise remain infertile, it still has a relative low success rate -- less than half of ICSI attempts, in which a single sperm cell is injected directly into an egg cell, achieve fertilization. The upcoming research will investigate whether or not PAWP can increase those success rates. With any luck, just as many of us were awed years ago by the incredible science of ICSI, perhaps a few years down the road we'll be seeing the fruition of this latest ground-breaking research.
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