Single injection could halt chemo fertility loss in men says study

In collaboration with the Press Association

Early research in mice suggests that a single injection prior to treatment could one day prevent male infertility through chemotherapy, scientists have suggested.

Among chemotherapy's side effects, some men can occasionally experience the loss or reduction of fertility.

"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 scientist Alon Carmely of the Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

The research looked at a compound known as AS101 which had previously been noted for its ability to protect cells from damage in laboratory studies.

This was given to mice alongside chemotherapy drug Taxol, while other groups of mice received just one of the substances and a control group received none at all.

After thirty days the mice's testes were examined. While the Taxol-only mice had testicular weight loss, a single dose of AS101 seemed to prevent this.

The team also found that the Taxol-injected mice were unable to produce sperm properly.

"In contrast, we saw only minimal testicular damage in the group that had previously been injected with AS101, and we could also find mature sperm." said Mr Carmely.

Mr Carmely said that research was continuing to try and understand the process behind the protection and that initial tests among cancer patients were hoped to start in a few months.

The research was presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, the Czech Republic.