ScienceChallenge 1: Improvement of Male Fertility
It is believed that at least half of the cases of infertility are related to the impairment of male fertility. This challenge focuses on understanding genetic and other biological determinants of male fertility to be able to develop specialized treatments as well as implement preventive measures aiming to improve the reproductive function of future generations.
Challenge 1 will initiate a large and unique Danish-Swedish prospective clinical study of infertile male patients who will be examined systematically (deep phenotyping), including collection of blood, semen, DNA, urine and other biological samples for biobanking. In addition, detailed questionnaire data and identification of novel biomarkers (e.g. proteomics, AR bioactivity assay etc.) will enable future research on the pathogenesis of male infertility. This will improve diagnostics of male reproductive dysfunction and proper classification of different testicular pathologies. Furthermore, the biobank will represent a unique tool for future research on prevention and treatment of impaired male fertility.
Infertility is a global problem in the western world affecting 15-20% of all couples. It has been shown that under certain circumstances environment and/or lifestyle could represent a threat to semen quality and, consequently, to male fertility. However, our understanding of genetic and other biological determinants of male fertility is far too limited which hampers the implementation of preventive measures aiming to improve the reproductive function of future generations.
Indeed, not only prevention but also possibilities to treat impaired semen quality are very limited, with gonadotropin therapy in males with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism being one of the few exceptions. Thus, the above-mentioned focus of Challenge 1.