SpindleView: A tool for looking at oocyte chromosome spindle prior to ICSI.

February 3, 2007

OBGYN.net Conference CoverageFrom the 11th World Congress on Human Reproduction, June 2002

View the video (requires free RealPlayer). 

Mark Perloe, MD:  “I’m here with Cathy Bontin from CRI and we’re talking about SpindleView which is a new technology that we can utilize in IVF.  Can you explain a little bit about what this technology will allow us to do?”

Cathy Bontin:  “Sure, SpindleView allows you to look inside the oocyte, and it allows you to localize and identify the myotic spindle.  Typically, this could not be done without SpindleView unless you stained and killed it so the SpindleView system allows one in the laboratory to use it non-invasively.  They can use it primarily for the purpose of ICSI so that localizing the spindle prior to ICSI allows one to ascertain and be certain that while they’re injecting they’re not harming the spindle.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “Are you going to find eggs that may not have a spindle and find that maybe this egg should not be utilized or timing is a problem?”

Cathy Bontin:  “Absolutely, there’s a big proportion.  There’s a study just published recently that showed a high correlation between those oocytes without spindles, which made up about 30% of the population.  They had a strong decrease in the fertilization rate somewhere near 17% and beyond that the developmental potential decreased by about 25%.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “When you observed the oocyte and you see there’s a spindle missing, does this mean that your timing is off?”

Cathy Bontin:  “No, the spindle actually has a very dynamic character and it can be affected by temperature, by pH, by age, and what have you.  It does have the propensity to reform as long as you keep the temperature within the thirty-seven degree mark while inside the incubator to the best of your ability.  If it does rise it does have the capability to reform.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “So in a way it’s also a quality control measure as far as temperature control and the oocyte?”

Cathy Bontin:  “Absolutely because you can’t monitor that otherwise aside from what your stage reads which may tell you thirty-seven but your oocyte might be something starkly different.  So if it doesn’t have a spindle, it’s telling you something’s wrong there.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “We’re used to looking at whether there’s a polar body and what the cytoplasm looks like, and did you have a germinal vesical or is that gone to get a degree of nuclear maturity or capability of the embryo or the oocyte.  Does this technology allow us to look at cytoplasmic maturity or health?  Is there any prediction that those that look normal are going to do better?”

Cathy Bontin:  “There’s a lot that is unknown about what you can see with our system in the cytoplasm but we know that we can pick out structures.  They just haven’t been characterized yet so there is a probability that, yes, there’s something there that could potentially tell you something about maturity, age of the oocyte, and its health but more importantly it can give you a more symmetric analysis of the spindle.  The spindle can tell you a story as well, for example, if you have aneuploidy the theory resides that you’re going to have an abnormal spindle or you’re going to have an abnormal distribution of the microtubules in the spindle.  So having the capability to look at that and measure that can open the door for looking at oocyte quality or what have you.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “Has there been any correlations then between aneuploidy and embryos and abnormal spindle appearance?”

Cathy Bontin:  “In fluorescence they’ve shown that.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “That’s interesting if we can save time and figure out which.”

Cathy Bontin:  “Absolutely, do it up front.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “So in a way an abnormal appearing spindle may be more problematic than the spindle that is completely absent?”

Cathy Bontin:  “Exactly.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “Are there many programs using this clinically or is it still a research tool?”

Cathy Bontin:  “It’s still very much a research tool.  There are some programs using it clinically for the localization of the spindle prior to ICSI and that’s their primary function.  But the system has such advantages in the research field right now because it not only allows you to look at the spindle but it looks at other structures.  For example, it gives you a look at the tri-layer zona rather than the Hoffman image where you’re just getting one grey zona.  What you can do is identify the structural characteristics of the zona at any stage.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “Is there any risk of damage with it?”

Cathy Bontin:  “It’s purely non-invasive.  It is using the same light that you use with Hoffman modulation and, in fact, we’re actually putting in a grid filter so it becomes even less harmful.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “If someone wanted to learn more about the system, do you have a website that they can go to?”

Cathy Bontin:  “Yes, it’s www.cri-inc.com.”

Mark Perloe, MD:  “Very good, thank you so much, Cathy.”

Cathy Bontin:  “Thank you.”