Drug may reduce female cancer patient infertility risk, according to study – Life Science Daily

Posted: September 7, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Researchers recently determined that an existing drug may protect premenopausal women from infertility following cancer treatments.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health with findings published in Genetics revealed the benefits of checkpoint protein (CHK2) in mice.

Officials said women treated for cancer with radiation or certain chemotherapy drugs are commonly rendered sterile adding women are born with a lifetime reserve of oocytes or immature eggs but those oocytes are among the most sensitive cells in the body and may be wiped out by cancer treatments.

Investigators said CHK2 functions in a pathway that eliminates oocytes with DNA damage, a natural function to protect against giving birth to offspring bearing new mutations. When they irradiated mice lacking the CHK2 gene, the oocytes survived and eventually repaired the DNA damage, with the mice birthing healthy pups.

It turns out there were pre-existing CHK2 inhibitor drugs that were developed, ironically enough, for cancer treatment, but they turned out not to be very useful for treating cancer, said John Schimenti, the papers senior author and Cornell University professor in the Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Biology and Genetics. The one major concern is that even though these irradiated oocytes led to the birth of healthy mouse pups, its conceivable that they harbor mutations that will become manifested in a generation or two because we are circumventing an evolutionarily important mechanism of genetic quality control. This needs to be investigated by genome sequencing.

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Drug may reduce female cancer patient infertility risk, according to study – Life Science Daily

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