EGA Institute for Women's Health


Natalie Getreu

Natalie Getreu


Project title

Optimising ovarian tissue transplantation by improving graft revascularisation 

Project description 

Recent advances have improved survival for young women diagnosed with cancer. However, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may cause irreversible ovarian damage so that women cured of their cancer cannot conceive. IVF before starting cancer treatment is only available to women with a partner or those willing to use donor sperm. It is contra indicated in women with hormone sensitive tumours. Potentially ovarian tissue transplantation, in which a piece of the patient’s ovarian tissue is frozen and stored, could overcome these problems. After the cancer treatment, the tissue is thawed and re-transplanted. Unfortunately the tissue often does not survive transplantation and so only 80 births have been reported worldwide using this method. In a previous study we found calcification in retrieved ovarian transplants. The same features in liver have been attributed to post transplant ischemia. My project is designed to apply methods previously used to reduce ischemia in other transplanted tissues, to human ovary. Before transplantation into nude mice, biopsies will be encapsulated in alginate or encapsulated in alginate containing an endothelin antagonist. We will also assess fibrin glue for graft attachment (instead of sutures). After retrieval the biopsies will be assessed for calcification and viable follicles. In the second study phase mice will be given hFSH to stimulate follicular growth in the grafts. Chromosomal gains or losses in retrieved oocytes will be assessed using CGH arrays. These results will hopefully improve the clinical application of this treatment method and help women who survive cancer to conceive.

Start date


Primary supervisor 

Dr Paul Hardiman 

Based at

Royal Free Hospital 


Research Gate