Email a studentSend a postcardEmail a student
Send a postcard
Email a student
The University of Leeds
The Reporter
In this section
The University
Studying at Leeds
Leeds & Yorkshire

Issue 471, 22 October 2001

Fertility hope for cancer patients

Infertility in women following drug or radiation treatment for cancer could be safely reversed, according to a study carried out by the University of Leeds and centres in Manchester.

Senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology Anthony Rutherford, and visiting professor Roger Gosden were among a group of researchers to carry out the first non test-tube investigation into the safety of preserving ovarian tissue from cancer patients before treatment, and transplanting it back after treatment.

For women unable to provide embryos for freezing before cancer treatment, the only possible means of having children after treatment was the preservation and later transplantation of ovarian tissue. As well as being technically difficult, this procedure was always thought to carry a high risk of reintroducing cancer cells to the body. Ovarian tissue from cancer patients has been banked at many centres worldwide in preparation for transplantion after successful treatment, but there is a need to ensure that the tissue will not transmit disease.

The study has shown that such transmission is unlikely, and that women facing drug treatment or radiation can be optimistic of regaining their fertility, without further risk to their health.

The researchers grafted frozen and thawed ovarian tissue from 18 women with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin's lymphomas into 30 immunodeficient mice.

The patients in the study were deliberately selected for having high-risk disease, and so were worst-case scenarios of highly aggressive lymphomas which were likely to have spread at the time the ovarian tissue was taken. They also grafted a disease-positive lymph node from a patient with a recurrent B-cell lymphoma into three immunodeficient mice. None of the mice grafted with the ovarian tissue developed human lymphomas, but all three of the mice who received a diseased graft developed human B-cell lymphomas.

The research teams are now working on finding a method to screen cancer cells in ovarian tissue before transplantation.

  Current issue
  Back issues
  Search all online issues of the Reporter
  Search current issue
  Email the reporter
  Small ads

See also
  Press office
  Press releases
  In the press
  News archive
  Facts and figures
  History of the University
  Send a post card

Quick Links A-Z staff & students Departments Administration & services Library Student Union Campus map Website map Top 10 Intranet Contact us