Male Cancer Patients and Fertility
It may be possible to protect the testes of cancer patients against the loss of fertility caused by chemotherapy, a scientist told the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, Czech Republic on Tuesday 20 June 2006. Mr. Alon Carmely from Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, said that his work showed for the first time that the injection of a drug that enhances the immune system could protect the testis from the effects of paclitaxel (Taxol), a widely used chemotherapy drug.
"The effects of chemotherapy treatment on fertility are an important issue for long-term survivors of cancer who may not have started or completed a family at the time of diagnosis", said Mr. Carmely. "AS101 is a Tellurium-based non-toxic immunomodulatory compound developed and synthesised by us. Tellurium is a transition element with similar properties to Selenium, which is also known to have many beneficial effects."
Knowing that AS101 had been shown to have chemoprotective effects in both animal and human studies, he and his team decided to investigate whether it could be used to avoid testicular damage in mice treated with Taxol. "Clinical studies had already shown that AS101 could protect against bone marrow damage and hair loss, and also sensitises the tumour to treatment", he said.
The scientists divided the mice into four groups