Male infertility can be devastating for men and their partners. Despite that, an underlying cause of infertility cannot be identified in about half of infertile men. WUSM Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center doctors and researchers are part of a large team working to uncover these likely genetic causes and work to find potential treatments.
Last year, a team of researchers led by our peers at U. Of Utah received a 2.1 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the Genetics of Male Infertility Initiative (GEMINI), a five-year project aimed at discovering the genetic causes of infertility, and looking at how best to address them in a clinical setting through personalized genomic medicine. The GEMINI team will be specifically studying men who suffer from azoospermia, a condition in which no sperm are produced.
Don Conrad, PhD Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics at WUSM is WUSTL's primary investigator along with the medical team at WUSM/BJH's Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center. Although the study is focused on genetic causes of men who do not produce sperm, all men who are patient's at our center with any male factor infertility are invited to volunteer for participation. Involvement in the study includes a one time blood drawn.
The multi centered study is led by Kenneth Aston, PhD, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He is one of the primary investigators with Project Gemini. Project GEMINI includes an international team of more than a dozen urologists, andrologists and geneticists from seven countries who see roughly 20-thousand patients seeking infertility treatments each year. Kenan Omurtag, M.D and Emily Jungheim M.D, MSCI, Assistant professors in REI at WUSM are local co-collaborators on GEMINI.
We here at WUSM, along with the rest of the team, hope to change the way male infertility is not only diagnosed, but treated.