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OHSU # 2347 — A method for generating human oocytes by nuclear transfer


A method of generating functional human oocytes from polar bodies, which could be utilized to increase viable oocyte retrieval and prevent transmission of inherited mitochondrial DNA mutations.

Technology Overview

Because of the trend toward delayed childbearing in the Western world, the age-related infertility, embryonic and fetal loss, as well as birth defects are common. The efficacy of assisted reproductive technologies is limited by the number and quality of available oocytes calling for the development of additional sources of competent, patient-related oocytes.     

Maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations, estimated to affect 778 newborns in US each year, result in mitochondrial dysfunction and may cause severe and life threatening disease with no effective treatment, such as Leigh Syndrome, MELAS or NARP. 

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University discovered a novel method of generating functional human oocytes. The technique utilizes otherwise developmentally discarded first polar body (PB1) genomes for nuclear transfer (PBNT) which increase the yield of patient-matched viable embryos for transfer and thus increased pregnancy rates of approximately 40%. Additionally, given that PB1 hosts only a few mitochondria, the use of PBNT could be expanded to support mitochondrial replacement therapy, an approach to prevent maternal transmission of mtDNA-based disease.


Ma H, et al., “Functional Human Oocytes Generated by Transfer of Polar Body Genomes.” Cell Stem Cell. 2017 Jan 5;20(1):112-119. Link

Kang E, et al., “Mitochondrial replacement in human oocytes carrying pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations.” Nature. 2016 Dec 8;540(7632):270-275. Link

Licensing Opportunity

This technology is available for licensing and/or collaborative development.




Filed United States
Published United States WO 2018/089553
Issued Singapore
Issued United States 11,718,825