Research Suggests it’s Possible to Reverse Premature Menopause with Stem Cells

Research Suggests it’s Possible to Reverse Premature Menopause with Stem Cells

Preliminary results from an ongoing ROSE clinical trial suggest it may be possible to reverse premature menopause using stem cells. Stem cells harvested from the bone marrow of patients have been shown to reverse premature menopause, with serum estrogen levels increasing in just 3 months following treatment. The treatment has been shown to be effective for at least one year in both participants who enrolled in the clinical trial.

Premature menopause affects approximately 1% of women. While most women continue to remain fertile into their 50s, for some women, menopause can occur much earlier. In some cases, as early as the teens. A treatment to reverse premature menopause, at least temporarily, could allow these women time to conceive using their own eggs. A treatment to reverse premature menopause could also help to alleviate the symptoms, such a night sweats, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.

In the trial, bone marrow stem cells were harvested from the posterior iliac crest of patients and were injected into their ovaries. Symptoms of menopause were alleviated within 3 months with menses resuming after six months. While menstruation has started again, it is currently unclear if, and when, the two patients will become fertile again. The patients will continue to be monitored over the coming weeks and months.

Ayman Al-Hendy, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Gynecology and Director of Translational Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of the study said throughout the course of the trial bloods were monitored and scans were performed on the patients’ ovaries. In the trial, only one ovary from each patient received the stem cells, with the other used as a control. “Ultrasound imaging of treated ovaries shows significant size increase in the treated ovaries compared to the contralateral untreated ovaries. In the cases completed so far, the patients have tolerated the treatment very well with no complications or side effects,” said Al-Hendy.

The trial was only conducted on two patients, although the researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago now plan to extend the trial and recruit a further 33 participants.

The preliminary results of the clinical trial were announced at the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago.

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