Infertility Breakthrough | Does cancer drug sparks growth of new eggs?
Infertility has become as an epidemic these days and one out of six couples is getting difficulties in getting pregnant. There are several reasons for making a woman unable to conceive. So now here is an infertility breakthrough that scientist have found for those women who have lost their all hopes of becoming mother. As we all know that cancer is one of the most deadly diseases in this world and the patients who through this condition have to go through the treatment called chemotherapy. Till now we were aware that if a woman is fertile but she has to go through the chemotherapy because of her cancer, she cannot get pregnant forever.
Cancer drugs for infertility
Now, infertile women have been offered no hope of becoming mother when a group of scientists found that a common cancer drug triggers the development of new eggs, an outcome which was previously thought to be impossible. According to a discovery hailed as “astonishing”, researchers at the University of Edinburgh proved it is possible to reverse the clock and coax the ovaries back into a pre-pubescent state where they begin to produce new eggs. Females are born with lots of eggs but still conceiving becomes harder because of age and eggs also get older and decreasing day by day. Eggs also become damaged and eventually run out entirely and after that woman can never get pregnant naturally.
As of now scientists have found that women who have cancer and went through chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with a drug combination known as ABVD has increased their eggs quantity up to 10 times as the healthy women. Scientists have found that far from damaging the chance of having a baby, the cancer drugs may actually have improved their reproductive system. According to the researchers speculate, it’s a shocking discovery that chemotherapy may trigger stem cells in the ovaries into producing new follicles, the hollow hair-like structures which each produce a single egg.
According to the lead researcher Professor Evelyn Telfer, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, “We were astonished when we saw what had happened to the tissue. It looked like pre-pubescent tissue with a high density of follicles and clustering that you don’t normally see in an adult. As we earlier knew that ABVD does not have a sterilizing effect as other cancer drugs has but finding new eggs are being made, in such a huge numbers, it was really very surprising to see. It looks like something got activated and probably in the germ line or stem cells and now we need to find out what that mechanism is. It could be that the harshness of the treatment triggers some kind of shock effect or perturbation which stimulates the stem cells into producing new eggs. Professor Evelyn Telfer says that “I think it’s a pretty big deal. It is the first time that we have ever been able to see new follicles being formed within the ovary, and it may only be a small number of women, but it is significant that the same effect was seen in all of the women on ABVD. The outcome may be significant and far-reaching. He says that the analyzed samples of ovarian tissue were donated by 14 women who had undergone chemotherapy, alongside tissues from 12 healthy women.
Scientists found in their research that the tissue from eight of the cancer patients who had been treated with ABVD had between four and 10 times more eggs compared with those tissues which were donated from women who had received a different type of chemotherapy, or healthy women of a similar age group. They found ovarian tissue was seen to be in healthy condition, and looking a like tissue from young women’s ovaries. Although, the eggs are still in an immature state and scientists are now trying to discover how they were created in the first place, then work out a way to bring them to maturity. It is unclear if the eggs in their current form would be functional or not. Once the research can reveal the mechanism, it would help scientists understand how women could produce more eggs during their lifetime, which was until now thought to be impossible. Future research will examine the separate impact of each of the four drugs that combine to make ABVD – known as adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine – to better understand the biological mechanisms involved. According to Professor Charles Kingsland, a fertility expert of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, “This is a very small but extremely interesting study. It’s very early days but may give an insight as to how the ovary can make new eggs, which previously we thought was impossible. “It’s particularly fascinating that a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent to treat cancer in young girls has been shown to cause this effect.”
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