Fertility Musings, Questions & Answers and News

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sparing men from infertility after chemotherapy

At the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in Prague, last week, Alon Carmely from Bar-Ilan University (Israel) said that his work (select Tuesday from the top and then click the 2nd to last link. Finally, look for A. Carmely - there's a summary of his presentation) showed for the first time that the injection of AS101, a drug that enhances the immune system, could protect the testis from the effects of paclitaxel (Taxol), a widely used chemotherapy drug.

Alon Carmely and his team knew that AS101 had been shown to have chemoprotective effects in both animal and human studies, and they decided to investigate whether it could help avoid testicular damage in mice treated with Taxol. The results showed only minimal testicular damage in the group that had been injected with AS101. Mature sperm was also found, as opposed to the control group, in which the testicles showed severe atrophy and empty seminiferous tubules (where the sperm-producing cells are) .

This provides hope even for those men who did not freeze sperm prior to beginning chemotherapy - some for lack of time, some because they were simply unable to think that far ahead while dealing with the uncertainty of cancer.

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