Follicle Biology Research (FOBI) – 4R-ART

The Follicle Biology Unit aims to design and validate new culture systems for ovarian follicles and unripe egg cells with the purpose to establish practical, applicable strategies for fertility clinics.

The 4R-ART project

An increase in lab technicity can lead to a safer, hormone-free and faster time to pregnancy at reduced cost. This can finally result in improved access to treatment .

Purpose

“Reduce” the burden of infertility therapy

  • Reduce therapeutic hormone “load”
  • Reduce the lenght of therapy
  • Reduce time to pregnancy

4R-ART stands for

  • RETHINK
    oocyte collection technology remained basically the same as in 1984
  • REPLACE
    in-vivo hormone adm by in-vitro oocyte treatment
  • REDUCE
    … treatment length and monitoring & psy stress
  • REFINE
    … increase oocyte utilisation rate

2 technologies with proof-of-concept

1) A non-invasive test for OOCYTE QUALITY : “Corona-Test” for making a better choice of the embryo to transfer

What?
Ranking of oocytes by analysis of its surrounding corona cells.
Patiënt becomes pregnant faster

Application?
This test helps the embryologist to make a better choice ( than only by morphology or morphokinetics )

Where?
CORONA Test will be done as a service

Stage?
2017: proof of concept done : 60% pregnancy rate in first cycle
2018: implementation on an automated platform for Benelux

2) OOCYTE “CAPACITATION MEDIUM” for culture of oocytes from small follicles

What?
Capacitation Method ( CAPA) can mature oocytes from follicles as small as 2-6 mm diameter

Utility?
Patients with a good ovarian oocyte reserve can have oocytes retrieved out of small follicles with minimal stimulation

Where?
This oocyte Pick-up technique can be done in all IVF centers, on the condition that an extra ‘capacitation’ culture step is done in the Lab

Stage?
2017: proof of concept done
2018: international trials planned

Keywords

  • Gyneacology
  • Fertility
  • Assisted Reproduction

Contact

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Follicle Biology Unit
Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy

Laarbeeklaan 103 - B-1090 Brussel - Belgium

1/ Prof SMITZ JOHAN, MD PhD
Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy
Promotor Follicle Biology Research
johan.smitz@uzbrussel.be
http://fobi.vub.ac.be

2/ Prof Ellen Anckaert , MD PhD
Co-Promotor
Laboratorium Klinische Chemie
UZ Brussel
ellen.anckaert@uzbrussel.be

3/ Prof Michel De Vos MD, PhD
Co-Promotor
Dienst Fertiliteit
UZ Brussel
michel.devos@uzbrussel.be