New fertility hope after chemotherapy

Cancer patients could be saved from becoming infertile

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There is new fertility hope for women undergoing chemotherapy with the development of a leukaemia drug.

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Egg cells are damaged by chemo drugs, which can lead to premature menopause, but this process could be blocked by a new leukaemia drug called imatinib.

At the moment, patients can have their eggs removed and frozen before chemo for later attempts at IVF treatment, but this isn’t always successful.

Researcher Doctor Stefania Gonfloni, from Rome University, said the discovery has considerable medical implications, “It raises the possibility that imatinib could be used to preserve female fertility.”

While this is good news, the not-so-good news is that at present, experiments have been carried out on mice, but not people. More follow-up work is needed before the treatment can be tried on human patients.

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Researchers also said it’s “crucial” to show imatinib doesn’t interfere with the anti-cancer effects of chemotherapy.

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