Course description including main topics
The course will target some of the recent breakthroughs in gamete manipulations thought possible as new treatment methods for infertile patients: (1) the use of nuclear and mitochondrial transfer techniques, (2) the use of stem cell-derived gametes and (3) the possibility of genomic editing in gametes and embryos.
The use of nuclear transfer has been proposed as a means of preventing mitochondrial DNA disorders, while mitochondrial transfer is already being applied to rejuvenate the cytoplasm of oocytes for different indications.
Next, ground-breaking research on the production of gametes from pluripotent stem cells, providing an opportunity for sterile patients to reproduce again, will be presented. And finally, the techniques of gene editing, which have aroused enormous interest among scientists everywhere, may be applicable in gametes or embryos, which once again raises the spectre of eugenics.
These three topics will be systematically considered scientifically (current efficiency, state of the art), ethically/morally (should we apply these techniques, for which indications?), and from a safety/quality point of view (what risks are involved? what is an acceptable risk?). So the course will offer a great mix of new gamete manipulation techniques and high-throughput molecular technology, with added ethical and safety reflections. Every session will be closed by a debate initiated by the speakers and representatives from the respective organising SIGs, where the audience is encouraged to discuss these highly debatable subjects.
- An update on clinically applied nuclear or mitochondrial transfer techniques
- A societal and scientific foundation for the production of stem cell-derived gametes
- Clarification of the indications for gene editing in human gametes or embryos
Clinical and laboratory scientists, reproductive geneticists, embryologists, ART clinicians
Educational needs and expected outcomes
The research field of ART is progressing rapidly. As the clinical application of experimental technologies such as gamete manipulations or de novo gamete creation is fast approaching, there is an urgent need to discuss the current status of these technologies, with thorough consideration from different viewpoints covering the scientific evidence of efficiency and applicability in humans. Have enough safety studies been performed? Is there a societal foundation to support these techniques? An understanding of these highly experimental procedures is critical, particularly with respect to specific treatment indications.
This Campus course will provide a forum for experts to discuss the highly innovative techniques of gamete manipulation in human ART. As such it will also serves as a good foundation for researchers throughout Europe to establish new collaborations, bringing together a very diverse group of researchers such as scientists, ethicists, safety/quality coordinators, and clinicians.
The official language of the course is English.
Certificate of attendance
Participants can only obtain a certificate of attendance after completing the online evaluation. After the course, ESHRE will send an email with the link and more information.