It is truly the century of medicine. This decade alone, a man has been cured of his paralysis, the medical community at large is talking about doing a head transplant and old drugs have been found to be effective in preventing diabetes. Now, a cancer drug has been found to produce an incredible side effect. It has been found to produce new eggs in the ovaries of infertile women, or women that have undergone menopause.
Women are born with a set of eggs that gradually decay and die as age progresses. This is why women find it harder and harder to conceive as they age and after menopause sets in, the chance of conceiving goes away completely. However, a drug called ABVD, used to treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, has been shown to produce new eggs in infertile women. Women being treated with ABVD were found to have 10 times more eggs than healthy women of the same age. This is very unconventional, downright rare, because treatment for cancer usually damages the human body, it doesn’t rejuvenate it.
Samples of ovarian tissue from 14 women undergoing chemotherapy and 12 healthy women were analyzed in the study. Researchers claim that the chemotherapy treatment may have triggered stem cells in the ovaries to produce new hair follicles. These hair like structures then produced eggs (one each). Lead researcher, Professor Evelyn Telfer from the University of Edinburgh School of Biological Sciences had this to say:
“We were astonished when we saw what had happened to the tissue. It looked like pre-pubescent tissue with a high density of follicles and clustering that you don’t normally see in an adult. We knew that ABVD does not have a sterilising effect like some cancer drugs can, but to find new eggs being made, in such huge numbers, that was very surprising to see.”
The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.