New technique to aid IVF embryo selection29 August 2017

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, led by The University of Adelaide, have successfully developed an advanced new imaging technique, which can help assess the quality of early-stage embryos. The research has the potential to significantly benefit the IVF industry of the future, improving assisted reproduction outcomes for women.

“We use a special type of imaging to show differences in the metabolism and chemical make-up of embryos before they’ve been implanted,” said Dr Mel Sutton-McDowall from The University of Adelaide. “This technique can give us an objective measure of which embryo to choose as part of the IVF process.”

This ‘hyperspectral imaging’ measures light that cells naturally produce during their normal activities. The light or ‘autoflorescence’ produced changes according to the chemical reactions or metabolism going on in the cell. Being able to measure embryo metabolism is viewed by many researchers as one of the most important factors as to whether a particular IVF program will be successful.

Dr Sutton-McDowall sees the use of hyperspectral imaging as a new tool that can be combined with other diagnostic methods to provide a more accurate and objective embryo viability assessment. “I think we’ll see this innovative approach commercialised fairly quickly,” she said.

“IVF is a costly and complex treatment. Any new method that can help improve the odds of women successfully having babies is of benefit to both clinicians and their patients.” Not just limited to human IVF practice, Dr Sutton-McDowall also sees commercial opportunities for the hyperspectral technology across the farming, animal and livestock sectors as well.

Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.

Image: Dr Mel Sutton-McDowall.
Image credit:
ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.

Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 30, 2017