Erectile dysfunction following treatment for prostate cancer: promising results from the first transplants of stem cells into the penis

12 patients suffering from severe erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer received a transplant of stem cells into the penis. After six months, significant improvements in the quality of sexual intercourse, erection, penile rigidity and quality of orgasm were reported by the patients, according to a study by Inserm. This clinical trial was conducted under the direction of Professor René Yiou at the Department of Urology, Henri Mondor University Hospital, Paris Public Hospitals (AP-HP), Créteil.

These results are published in the journal European Urology.


Erectile dysfunction (sexual impotence) remains a common sequela of surgical removal of prostate cancer (radical prostatectomy). It is likely to severely affect the quality of life and self-image of men. Erectile dysfunction is caused by lesions in the vessels and nerves of the penis, which normally run alongside the prostate before reaching the erectile elements.

A pilot clinical trial was conducted by Inserm to repair the cellular lesions in the penis caused by radical prostatectomy. This new therapeutic approach consisted of injecting the penis with stem cells taken from the patients’ bone marrow. Many studies have shown that the bone marrow contains several types of stem cells that can spontaneously transform into cells of the same type as those damaged in the penis following radical prostatectomy (essentially endothelial, smooth muscle and connective tissue cells). They can also secrete substances that promote the repair of damaged blood vessels and nerves. In 2004, Prof. René Yiou’s team (Inserm Unit 955, “Mondor Institute for Biomedical Research”) at Henri Mondor University Hospital (AP-HP) set out to develop new therapeutic strategies to correct the sequelae of prostate surgery, using the regenerative capabilities of stem cells.

The main objective of this phase I/II clinical trial, supported by Inserm, was to test the feasibility and tolerance of an injection of bone marrow stem cells into the penis to treat erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy. The secondary objectives of the study were to evaluate the effects of the cell transplant on the quality of erections, sexual intercourse and the penile vessels. Since this treatment had not yet been tested in humans, it was necessary to conduct a first trial on a small number of patients to test patient tolerance to different doses of cells. For this pilot study, patients enrolled had severe erectile dysfunction considered to be irreversible following radical prostatectomy, i.e. the maximum medical treatment (prostaglandin injections into the penis + maximum doses of Viagra® and the use of a vacuum (erection pump[1])) remained ineffective after an average period of two years. Moreover, penile Doppler ultrasound showed that the erectile dysfunction was caused by severe damage to the penile vessels.


Trial methodology

Twelve patients were enrolled for a total duration of 6 months. Four increasing doses of stem cells were tested, with each patient participating in the clinical trial receiving only one injection. The stem cells were taken from the bone marrow in the hip, and prepared by the French National Blood Service (Dr Hélène Rouard).

The effects of cell transplantation were assessed by specific self-administered questionnaires that scored the main aspects of sex life, namely satisfaction with intercourse, erectile and orgasm functions, libido, and penile rigidity during intercourse. The penile vessels were studied by Doppler ultrasound before and after cell transplantation. The researchers also assessed changes in the size of the penis after transplantation, since penile shrinkage is a common sequela of radical prostatectomy.


(c) Inserm / AP-HP

Main results

Tolerance of the treatment was excellent, and the main side-effect reported was transient pain at the puncture site where the bone marrow was taken (buttock region).

Six months after cell transplantation, the researchers noted a significant improvement in the main sexual scores, particularly a 10-point increase in the mean score for erectile function (17.4/30 at 6 months versus 7.3/30 before transplantation) on a scale of 0 to 30 (where 30 corresponded to the best possible erectile function). The other scores that improved significantly concerned overall satisfaction with sexual intercourse: 6.8/10 at 6 months versus 3.9/10 before transplantation (with 10 being the best score); the quality of orgasm: 6.3/10 at 6 months versus 3.5/10 before transplantation; penile rigidity during intercourse: 2.6/4 at 6 months versus 1.3/4 before transplantation (4 indicating maximum rigidity). At least two patients described a return to normal erections similar to the situation prior to radical prostatectomy, without taking drugs. A mean increase of 1 cm in penis length was observed. The clinical benefits were more pronounced at higher doses, and were associated with a normalisation of arterial vascular parameters in the penis measured by Doppler ultrasound. Improvement in sexual scores was maintained 1 year after transplantation, although some patients continued to use a treatment during intercourse.

In light of these good results, the researchers nonetheless wish to recall that: “Because of the small number of patients enrolled in the study, and the absence of a control group that would have received a ‘placebo’ injection, there is a need for caution about the conclusiveness of the efficacy shown for this new therapeutic strategy.” However, it is important to remember that the patients treated all showed severe erectile dysfunction that was unresponsive to the maximum medical treatment, and was associated with substantial damage to the penile vascularisation. The likelihood of spontaneous improvement in erections had been considered close to zero with these criteria. Improvement in sexual scores combined with a normalisation of Doppler ultrasound measurements of the penis argues in favour of a beneficial effect from the stem cell transplant in the medium term.

This therapeutic strategy could constitute the first approach to curing erectile dysfunction. For Prof. René Yiou: “If the results of this study are confirmed by other controlled clinical trials, the indications for cell therapy could be extended to other forms of erectile dysfunction that are less severe, or that result from common diseases such as diabetes or other vascular diseases.”

More information at:

[1] The pump creates a vacuum around the penis, causing an influx of blood into the corpora cavernosa, and hence an erection.

The launch of a European Alliance dedicated to accelerating new concepts in HIV Vaccine research

The European Commission has granted over 22 million Euros to the European HIV Vaccine Alliance (EHVA) to develop a multidisciplinary platform to evaluate novel preventive and therapeutic vaccines. The grant is supplemented with additional 6 million Euros from the Swiss government for the Swiss project partners.

EHVA, a partnership initiated by Prof. Yves Lévy, CEO of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and Prof. Giuseppe Pantaleo, Executive Director of Swiss Vaccine Research Institute from Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), brings together 39 industrial and academic partners from Europe, the US and Africa, with multidisciplinary expertise and state-of-the art technologies.

HIV remains a major global health challenge with 37 million people living with HIV, and over 2 million new infections every year. Numerous biomedical HIV prevention strategies (such as PrEP and PEP), though proven successful, are difficult to sustain long-term. A vaccine still represents the most effective public health tool in combating HIV/AIDS.

EHVA aims to develop several innovative HIV vaccine concepts in both prophylactic and therapeutic settings. The prophylactic vaccine strategy focuses on developing novel vaccine candidates and vaccination regimens able to enhance protective antibody responses, while the therapeutic vaccine approach will study ways that will contribute to developing a functional cure by combining vaccines with other immunological interventions. Building on the tremendous wealth of experience the HIV research field has gained in the past decades, EHVA will develop a robust process that facilitates the selection and development of promising vaccine candidates, from discovery and manufacturing through to early clinical trials. EHVA will also engage with industrial experts and liaise closely with leading African scientists and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) with a view to testing future vaccines in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Yves Lévy, Coordinator of EHVA said, “Beyond the scientific excellence of the different teams involved in this very ambitious project, EHVA will structure HIV vaccine Research in Europe via its 39-partner alliance pooling their expertise and know-how around an ambitious 5-year work plan. We are very grateful for the financial support provided by the European Commission and the Swiss government that will enable us to implement this workplan”.

Professor Giuseppe Pantaleo, Scientific Co-coordinator of EHVA said, “EHVA represents a significant boost for the HIV vaccine research in Europe. It not only gives us the opportunity to accelerate the development of a number of novel vaccine candidates, but more importantly it enables us to develop tools for better understanding of the human immune responses to vaccines and how that is associated with vaccine efficacy, and therewith to help to down-select promising vaccine candidates in the future.”

Dr Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, Director of the Health Directorate at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission said: ” EU funded research offers a triple win: it promotes European scientific excellence and global collaborations, helps to develop novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine candidates and enhances European competitiveness. The Commission is pleased to support the EHVA project as part as its efforts to overcome the hurdles of vaccine development and to reach the goal of an AIDS-free world.”

EHVA is a 5-year project (starting January 2016) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the grant agreement no. 681032.

A radiosensitivity test for predicting sequelae following radiotherapy

Researchers at Inserm Unit 1194, “Montpellier Cancer Research Institute” (Inserm/University of Montpellier/Montpellier Regional Cancer Institute) have confirmed the value of a new test to identify cancer patients who will be free of sequelae following radiotherapy. This test, conducted on a blood sample taken from 500 breast cancer patients, treated in 10 centres in France, and monitored for 3 years, showed that women with a high rate of radiation-induced lymphocyte apoptosis (RILA) had a very low rate of late breast fibrosis. These results, which are published in EBioMedicine, suggest that personalisation of curative intent radiotherapy could be considered, with tailoring of the radiation dose delivered to the patient and the radiotherapy technique employed.

Institut de Recherche en Cancerologie de Montpellier (IRCM)

Radiotherapy is one of the treatments used to treat breast cancer. The irradiation destroys the malignant cells in a targeted manner. However, it also leads to the death of some healthy cells in the irradiation field. Using a single blood sample, the researchers analysed the rate of radiation-induced CD8 lymphocyte apoptosis (RILA) in the context of a prospective multicentre clinical trial which began in 2005. The objective of this trial is to develop a functional test based on RILA to predict radiosensitivity in tissues. The trial follows several pilot trials initiated in the last 15 years in relation to breast cancer, as well as other diseases.

In this context, 500 female patients with breast cancer and treated using radiotherapy were recruited in 10 French centres. The researchers at the Joint Research Unit “Montpellier Cancer Research Institute” (Inserm/University of Montpellier/Montpellier Regional Cancer Institute) performed RILA at 8 Gy for the patients before they underwent radiotherapy. The patients were then monitored for three years in order to assess late breast sequelae (fibrosis).

Results of the multicentre study provide large-scale confirmation of the preliminary data obtained by the researchers. They show that a high RILA value is correlated with a low incidence of late sequelae. A low rate of late breast fibrosis was observed, with a negative predictive value of over 90%. Conversely, almost all patients who showed a high level of fibrosis corresponded to the group with a low RILA value, predictive of more pronounced sequelae.

“This multicentre study provides a sufficient level of proof to allow the use of this test in routine clinical practice, and changes patient management. Given the results obtained, we can consider the possibility of increasing the total irradiation dose delivered locally, or of modifying the target volumes without compromising the oncological outcome,” explains David Azria, principal investigator in the study.

In practice, this test is carried out by taking a single blood sample, and results are obtained in 72 hours.

By providing the opportunity to identify patients who are not prone to sequelae and those at greatest risk, this test paves the way for the personalisation of curative intent radiotherapy.

It should not be used alone, but should be combined with other parameters in a predictive nomogram, a useful calculation tool, for which a patent application has been filed by the Montpellier team. “The results, when combined with the all the parameters, provide a reliable estimate of the risk of late sequelae following radiotherapy,” concludes David Azria.

10th European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Initiated by ECCA (European Cervical Cancer Association), this campaign, which will run from 24 to 30 January next, is aimed at raising awareness among the general public and health professionals about cervical cancer prevention and screening.


In France, this cancer affects nearly 3,000 women, and causes over 1,100 deaths each year.

There are two complementary levers for preventing and detecting the disease, the cervical smear test for women aged 25 to 65 years, and vaccination against HPV. According to the French National Cancer Institute (INCa), nearly 90% of cervical cancers could be prevented by carrying out cervical smear testing every three years.

Cervical cancer is mainly caused by a virus from the human papillomavirus (HPV) family, which is generally transmitted sexually. HPV 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers.[2] In 10% of cases, the infection persists, and can cause lesions in the cervical mucosa that may progress to cancer.

Throughout the year, Inserm researchers are actively involved in research on cervical cancer.

One challenge for researchers is to understand how the human papillomavirus type 16 escapes the host immune response. It is against this background that the team led by Uzma Hasan at Inserm Unit 1111, “International Center for Infectiology Research” (CIRI), is examining the role of IL-1β, a cytokine that plays an essential role in the body’s inflammatory response to infections. According to their latest work, HPV 16 blocks the expression of IL-1β in cells.

Elsewhere, members of Inserm Unit 912, “Economy and Social Sciences, Health Care Systems and Societies” (SESSTIM), are interested in the perceptions and recommendations of general practitioners regarding vaccination against HPV in the context of a recent national survey. This survey shows that 72% of the physicians interviewed regularly recommend the anti-HPV vaccine. However, it emphasises that 60% of participants believe that the potential risks associated with the vaccine are still insufficiently known.

Treating intestinal pain with bacteria

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is an intestinal bacterium that is abundant in healthy adults but scarce in those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Using a mouse model, a team of scientists from INRA, INSERM, and the University of Auvergne has discovered that the bacterium possesses analgesic properties, a finding just published in Scientific Reports (January 18, 2016).Given that F. prausnitzii also exhibits anti-inflammatory effects, the bacterium shows great promise as a tool for improving human health and well-being.

PhotoCP web langella

Scanning electron micrograph of F. prausnitzii © MIMA 2 experimental facility, T. Meylheuc

Chronic abdominal pain is one of the most frequent symptoms experienced by patients suffering from intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In 2008, researchers at the INRA center in Jouy-en-Josas discovered that individuals with IBD had lower levels of the bacterium Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in their intestines and that F. prausnitzii exhibited anti-inflammatory effects.

The research team delved further into the phenomenon via a collaborative project carried out with other research teams from INRA, INSERM, and the University of Auvergne. Using a mouse model (an inbred line with colorectal hypersensitivity), they discovered that reduced F. prausnitzii abundance was associated with the occurrence of hypersensitivity. In humans, the latter can manifest itself via intestinal discomfort or abdominal pain. The researchers found that dosing the study animals with F. prausnitzii allowed them to recover normal levels of colonic sensitivity.

Based on these results and those of the 2008 study, it is reasonable to propose that F. prausnitzii could have both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in humans.

In individuals suffering from IBS or IBD, the reduction in F. prausnitzii abundance in the gut due to intestinal inflammation or chronic stress might act to exacerbate levels of inflammation and/or pain. To break this vicious circle, the researchers propose using nutritional supplements containing F. prausnitzii (i.e., probiotics) to restore “intestinal well-being.”
This research has not only added to our fundamental understanding of cellular microbiology but also has very practical implications for the medical industry.

An oxygen mask to prevent sequelae from stroke?

And if a simple oxygen mask were to protect people from neurological sequelae following an acute stroke? It would be sufficient to administer it to patients during the interval needed by medical teams to restore the blood supply, and hence oxygen, to the brain. At any rate, this is the hypothesis formulated by Jean-Claude Baron, Inserm Research Director at Unit 894, “Psychiatry and Neurosciences Research Center,” in collaboration with English and German researchers. Work done in animals so far shows that this very simple intervention almost completely prevents neuronal loss, and completely prevents sensorimotor deficits following a stroke.

Results of this work are published in Brain.


(c) Fotolia

A cerebrovascular accident (CVA), commonly known as a stroke, corresponds to the blockage or rupture of a vessel carrying blood, and hence oxygen, to the brain. It is an absolute medical emergency, which requires calling the emergency medical services, SAMU (15), or the European emergency number (112) for immediate intervention.[1] Despite the spectacular development in the last 20 years of treatments for restoring blood circulation after acute blockage of a cerebral artery (the commonest form of stroke, known as “ischaemic stroke”), and hence restoring the oxygen supply to the brain as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms, stroke remains a major cause of disability. The most common and disabling sequelae are hemiplegia (paralysis of the left or right side of the body) and aphasia (impairment of spoken or written language, affecting expression and understanding.).

Although the current treatments often succeed in unblocking the vessels and saving the still-viable brain tissues, they cannot save tissues that are already damaged. Moreover, a tissue lacking oxygen, but still viable, becomes rapidly necrotic if blood circulation is not restored urgently. Furthermore, more minor types of stroke, such as transitory ischaemic attacks (TIA), are not indications for these treatments, because the circulation becomes re-established spontaneously, leading to good spontaneous recovery. However, these mini-strokes also cause brain damage. A major objective pursued by physicians and researchers is therefore, in all cases, to protect the still-viable tissue until it can be reperfused and hence reoxygenated.


The mouse model of stroke is considered a good representation of the clinical situation in humans. In this work, the research group led by Jean-Claude Baron tested the hypothesis that normobaric oxygen therapy (100% oxygen delivered by a simple face-mask) prevents the development of brain damage in a model mimicking stroke with early spontaneous reperfusion.

The researchers showed that this very simple treatment almost completely prevents neuronal loss and tissue inflammation in these animals, and completely prevents sensorimotor deficits following brain ischaemia.

For Jean-Claude Baron, Inserm Research Director and neurologist attached to Sainte-Anne Hospital: “This work is also highly valuable for its application to the human situation, as the treatment consists of a simple oxygen bottle and a light facial mask. This treatment would thus be very easy to implement in patients with stroke, as soon as they are being transported by ambulance.

It could also conceivably be started at home, prior to the arrival of the emergency services, in patients with a high risk of stroke, by providing minimal training to the patient and his/her spouse,” he adds.

If the clinical value of this easily implemented and inexpensive treatment is later proved by the appropriate randomised trials, it will be possible to both improve the efficacy of treatment and reduce brain damage following TIA/minor stroke, and thereby reduce disability.

[1] Source:

Cardiac arrest – Don’t neglect the warning signs!

Over half of the patients who die suddenly have early warning signs, allowing ample time for intervention, according to an Inserm study conducted by Eloi Marijon, a researcher and cardiologist at the Paris Cardiovascular Research Center (Inserm Unit 970 / George Pompidou European Hospital, AP-HP)
This work is published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

PhotoCP web Marijon

(c) Fotolia

Every year, about 50,000 French people die prematurely from cardiac arrest. This means one cardiac arrest every 10 minutes, i.e. ten times more than the number of deaths on the road. After the age of 45, coronary disease is the most frequent cause of myocardial infarction, which, in some cases, will lead to cardiac arrest. In France, only 5-7% of victims of cardiac arrest survive. Until now, these cardiac arrests have been perceived as inevitable, suggesting that nothing could predict the risk of cardiac arrest in the short term.

However, “Over half of the patients who die suddenly have early warning signs, allowing ample time for intervention,” according to a study by Inserm, the Paris public hospitals (AP-HP) and Paris Descartes University published in Annals of Internal Medicine. To obtain this result, Eloi Marijon of the Sudden Death Expertise Centre at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital, AP-HP, in collaboration with the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute (Los Angeles, California), studied exactly what happened in the 4 weeks preceding the occurrence of a cardiac arrest. For 839 men and women who had died suddenly, events were reconstructed by conducting detailed interviews with witnesses and family members, and by close examination of medical data from the hospitals and private physicians in the region.

Chest pain was the most common symptom. Other warning signs were shortness of breath on exertion and loss of consciousness. Dr Marijon points out that in two out of three cases, the chest pain was absolutely typical of heart trouble, with intense crushing pain. “But it had been intermittent until the occurrence of the cardiac arrest. Conversely, when there was breathing difficulty, it began several days previously, and was usually continuous until cardiac arrest,” says the Inserm researcher and cardiologist.

The team also analysed how these patients “responded” to these symptoms, and how this may have influenced their prognosis (chance of survival). The results are instructive: only 19% of these symptomatic patients called the emergency medical services (equivalent to dialling “15” in France). However, those who made the call showed a 6-fold greater chance of survival (achieving more than 30% survival !!) compared with those who ignored their symptoms.

“The lesson is that if you have these types of symptoms, they must not be ignored. If you are in this situation, go to see your general practitioner as soon as possible. And, most importantly, don’t waste any time,” insists the author of the study.

“These new data should spur the medical community to develop a new strategy for sub-acute prevention,” states Dr Marijon, i.e. to be able to identify subjects at risk of cardiac arrest in the short term.

Until now, prevention of sudden death is essentially based on managing cardiovascular risk factors, implanting defibrillators in patients at greatest risk, etc. But this (long-term) type of prevention has shown its limits. The exponential development of e-health should be an asset for developing this prevention, whether in terms of identifying at-risk subjects, optimising the management of cardiac arrest using geolocation systems, etc.

The intestinal microbiota: a burgeoning research subject

Interest in the intestinal microbiota, or intestinal flora, has grown considerably in recent years. In 2015, over 4,500 scientific studies on the subject were published in PubMed.


The intestinal microbiota is an ecosystem made up of 100,000 billion bacteria that colonise our digestive tract from the time we are born. Each host has his/her own unique intestinal flora. The composition of this flora depends on genetic, nutritional and environmental factors, and can change in the course of a lifetime.

Throughout the year, Inserm researchers are involved in research on the microbiota, which constitutes one of the three main cross-cutting scientific programmes in Inserm’s strategic plan for 2016-2020.

Recent studies have thus focused on the effects of the microbiota on health, and have revealed its role in autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, as well as its role in the regulation of iron in the body, and in the success of immunotherapy in oncology.

For your interviews and reporting needs, see the ”Microbiota press-kit,” available as a download opposite, for a listing of the contact details of specialists in this discipline, together with the latest news from Inserm on the subject.

Beginning of life: how does symmetry come into play?

The first embryonic division, which follows gamete fusion (oocyte and spermatozoon), starts the development of a new individual, the genesis of a functional adult body. This division is symmetric in the one-cell embryo stage (also known as the zygote); it leads to the formation of two daughter cells of identical size. Conversely, it is asymmetric in the oocyte, which has the same size and shape as the zygote. Why? What directs the zygote to divide symmetrically, while the oocyte divides asymmetrically during meiosis? Such are the questions pondered by Marie-Emilie Terret, a researcher at Inserm, and Marie-Hélène Verlhac, a researcher at CNRS and director of the Asymmetric Divisions in Oocytes team at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology (CIRB; Inserm/CNRS/Collège de France)[1]. By combining biology, physics and mathematics, the researchers succeeded in demonstrating, in mice, the regulatory mechanics that determine, in a very short time, the geometry and hence the fate (symmetric or asymmetric division) of the cell. In future, the elements arising from this work may contribute to improving the efficacy of in vitro fertilisation.

Details of these results are published today in the journal Nature communications.


At the one-cell stage, the embryo very closely resembles an oocyte: a round, isolated cell, similar in size to an oocyte. The geometry of a cell’s division is determined by the position of the microtubule spindle, the machinery that carries and separates the chromosomes. In most animal cells, the centrosomes organise the microtubule network, which is essential to the formation and positioning of the division spindle. But oocytes and zygotes lack centrosomes. A major difference between these two types of cells, however, lies in the geometry of their divisions. Indeed, during meiosis oocytes divide in an extremely asymmetric manner in terms of size, allowing the formation of a single enormous oocyte and the expulsion of “polar bodies” containing the excess genetic material. Conversely, the zygote divides in a perfectly symmetric manner, leading to the formation of two daughter cells of identical size.

CP Terret

Mouse oocyte and embryo at the one-cell stage. The top images show the actin networks; the bottom images show the microtubule spindles with aligned chromosomes.

(c) Marie-Emilie Terret

The geometry of division is determined by the position of the spindle: eccentric in oocytes, centred in zygotes. The Asymmetric Divisions in Oocytes team had previously shown that the eccentric position of the division spindle in the oocyte depends on the mechanics of the actin networks. In the work published today, the team of researchers shows that the centred position of the division spindle in the zygote is also due to the mechanics of the actin networks, but controlled differently.

Three steps are required for this symmetric division:

  1. The coarse centring of the male and female pronuclei, requiring a network of actin and myosin-Vb.
  2. The fine centring of the division spindle, requiring strong rigidity in the oocyte.
  3. The passive maintenance of the spindle in the centre of the cell.

The mechanics of actin/myosin networks therefore make it possible to change from an asymmetric division to a symmetric division, a change in geometry needed for the transition from oocyte to embryo.


The research team is already formulating hypotheses regarding the mode of action of actin, which plays a role in the physical characteristics of the cell membrane (rigid or soft), which in turn influence the geometry of division. “Our next work will involve the more detailed study of interactions between actin and microtubules in an attempt to understand their respective roles in the architecture of the cell at the moment of division, and the potential involvement of other intermediary proteins,” explains Marie-Emilie Terret.

A better understanding of the physical characteristics and behaviour of the oocyte during division, whether fertilised or not, has the potential to contribute useful new elements to medically assisted conception. During in vitro fertilisation (IVF), for instance, the storage temperature of the oocytes can have an impact on the quality of the actin networks, and consequently affect division, and hence the formation of a zygote.

Increasing the efficacy of IVF might therefore represent a long-term objective for this research team, one of the few in France working on this theme.

[1] In collaboration with researchers from the Laboratory for Analysis and Modelling for Biology and Environment (LAMBE; CNRS/CEA/University of Évry Val d’Essonne/Cergy Pontoise University), the Theoretical Physics of Condensed Matter Laboratory (LPTMC; CNRS/UPMC) and the Curie Physical Chemistry Laboratory (CNRS/Institut Curie/UPMC).