CRi Oosight™ Imaging System a Key to Breakthrough Gene Replacement Method With Potential To Prevent Inherited Mitochondrial Diseases
Cathy Boutin31 August 2009
CRi Oosight™ Imaging System a Key to Breakthrough Gene Replacement Method
With Potential To Prevent Inherited Mitochondrial Diseases
-Study Reported in Nature-
August 27, 2009, Woburn, MA— U.S. researchers using CRi’s Oosight™ imaging
system have developed a gene transfer technique that has potential to prevent inherited
diseases passed on from mothers to their children through mutated DNA in cell
mitochondria. The research, which demonstrated the technique in rhesus monkeys,
appears in the Aug. 26 issue of the journal Nature.
The group, headed by Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon National Primate Research
Center and the Oregon Stem Cell Center, extracted the nuclear DNA from the mother’s
egg, guided by the Oosight system, and transplanted it into another egg that had the
nucleus removed. The technique allowed the mother to pass along her nuclear genetic
material to her offspring without her mitochondrial DNA. The eggs were fertilized and
transplanted into surrogate mothers, resulting in the birth of four apparently healthy
monkeys. Defects in DNA of mitochondria, the cell’s “power plants,” are associated with
a wide range of human diseases.
The Oosight system solved a key problem in avoiding damage to the nuclear DNA during
the transfer procedure by providing a non-invasive imaging technique for visualizing the
genetic material. Traditional visualization methods employ a stain or involve exposure to
ultraviolet light, either of which can damage DNA. The Oregon team had used the
Oosight system in previous research, published in Nature in 2007, that provided a
foundation for the current study. In that research, they cloned rhesus monkey embryos
and used them to create embryonic stem cells.
The Oosight system uses polarized light to generate high-contrast, real-time images of
biological features such as the spindle apparatus housing the chromosomes and other
filamentous structures within the egg, such as the multi-layer zona pellucida, without the
addition of toxic stains or labels, while simultaneously generating useful quantitative data
of their structural composition. Two of the four offspring, Spindler and Spindy, were
named after the spindle, which is what the Oosight system is used to visualize.
“This study underscores the potential of the Oosight system to advance reproductive
medicine and highlights the enabling capabilities or our polarized light technology,”
said George Abe, president and CEO of CRi.
"With this advance, the Oosight imaging system, which is already widely used in fertility
clinics, has offered new insights and possibilities into reproductive health and medicine,"
said Gary Borisy, director and CEO of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in
Woods Hole, MA. The Oosight system is based on imaging technology originally
developed by MBL scientists Rudolf Oldenbourg and Michael Shribek, working in
collaboration with David Keefe, M.D., of the University of South Florida College of
In In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) the Oosight system is used as an aid to intracytosplasmic
sperm injection (ICSI). The system not only provides assurance that the genetic material
is not damaged by the injection needle, but it can also be used as a measurement tool to
assess egg viability in both fresh and frozen eggs. Data show that an egg with a weak or
malformed spindle and inner layer zona as measured with the system is much less likely
to result in pregnancy.
Other scientists have welcomed news of the advance. Mitochondria-expert Douglas
Wallace of the University of California, Irvine, said “results were exciting” and the
technique is “potentially very interesting.” Although he did caution that “there are safety
issues that are going to need to be addressed before one could think about it in humans.”
The Nature article reported that 15 embryos were transplanted into nine surrogate
mothers; three became pregnant, one with twins, and four offspring were born (only three
of these offspring have been reported in the Nature paper) The success rate is similar to
that of conventional in vitro fertilization.
A sample movie of the enucleation process that Dr. Mitalipov used is available at
(movie courtesy Dr. Mitalipov, OHSU).
Contact CRi at [email protected] for more details.
Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc. (CRi) is a leader in biomedical imaging,
and is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions that analyze disease-specific
information from biological and clinical samples in the combined physiological,
morphological, and biochemical context of intact tissues and organisms for a variety of
applications. With over 80 patents pending and issued, CRi’s award-winning innovations
are being utilized around the world to enable our customers to perform leading research
and provide better healthcare.
For more information contact:
Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc. (CRi)
Tel. 781-935-9099 x180
Email: [email protected]