Cancer breakthrough: Fertility may be possible after chemo - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Cancer breakthrough: Fertility may be possible after chemotherapy

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There has been a major scientific breakthrough for cancer-stricken women and their fertility. Scientists at Northwestern Medicine say they've found a way to prevent eggs from dying during these cancer treatments and, ironically, the answer lies in a chemotherapy drug.

Many female cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy face the possibility of becoming sterile.

Some opt to freeze their ovaries with no promise of the ability to get pregnant, but, a major scientific breakthrough unveiled today is paving the way for a fertile future for women.

Dr. Teresa Woodruff, Chief of Fertility Preservation at Northwestern Medicine, spoke with FOX 32 News over the phone from San Francisco where she presented the promising results at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

"In the same way you can lose your hair, you can lose your reproductive function," Dr. Woodruff explains. "The breakthrough is that we've been able to protect fertility, block effect of chemo therapeutics on sterilizing a mouse ovary."

Ironically, Dr. Woodruff's 2-year long research discovered a chemotherapy drug is used with a commonly used chemo drug, Cisplatin, on mice. The immature ovarian eggs were preserved rather than killed.

Dr. Woodruff says the next step is to hopefully create a fertility protective drug that will work with any chemotherapy or radiation treatment

"What we hope to do is find that drug that is the fertile protective drug that you would take in combination with whatever chemotherapy you would take," Woodruff says. "We're very excited to get back to lab. We're ready to come back to Chicago and get working."

Dr. Woodruff says if all goes well, she hopes she and her team would be able to help get a fertility protecting drug on the market in the next 5 to 10 years.

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