Recently our Director of Molecular Biology, Dr. Nathan Treff was interviewed by Research Media.EU for a piece on Improving IVF by a well known international publication, International Innovation. Here’s a sneak-peak of the publication-
In vitro fertilization is the gold standard of infertility treatment and Dr. Nathan Treff hopes to open new avenues by further advancing and enhancing the technique.
How did you come to develop your interest in molecular genetics and subsequently apply this to reproductive biology?
I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry from Washington State University (WSU) while researching the development of breast and ovarian cancer, and this is when I first became interested in molecular genetics.
The technologies I incorporated into my research at WSU – DNA arrays and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – were instrumental to my successes in postdoctoral fellowships, which focused on embryonic stem cell biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and reproductive biology at the Serono Research Institute.
Improving these technologies in order to enhance clinical care in reproductive medicine at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) has been one of the most rewarding opportunities in my career.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates at RMANJ are significantly higher than the US national average. How does your laboratory contribute to this achievement?
Most IVF programs outsource genetic testing, and for only a very small percentage of their patients. At RMANJ, my laboratory provides our patients with direct access to the most highly validated method of comprehensive chromosome screening (SelectCCS), which is utilized by over half of our patients.
How does the SelectCCS method help to lower incidences of incorrect aneuploidy (an abnormal number of chromosomes within an embryo) diagnosis?
One of the challenges of detecting aneuploidy is the presence of mosaicism; where more than one chromosomal makeup is present within the same embryo. This phenomenon can lead to a sampling error where the portion of the embryo removed for testing may not reflect the status of the remaining embryo.
Although this scenario is extremely rare, we are currently working to establish time-lapse imaging parameters that allow us to distinguish mosaic and normal embryos prior to selection for transfer and reduce the impact that this may have on diagnostic accuracy.
How are you hoping to improve SelectCCS?
We continue to improve SelectCCS by incorporating innovative technologies such as next-generation sequencing (NGS). Sequencing the human genome 10 years ago cost billions of dollars and took many years to complete, but can now be done within a single day for circa $1,000
These cost-saving technologies are now possible in the field of IVF and genetic testing, and we are the first group working to accurately translate this technology into a clinical reality.
READ MORE on Improving IVF – Screening for Success!