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Ovarian cancer find preserves fertility

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New research suggests that layer of cells which act as a “breeding ground” for cancer may be removed from the ovary leaving a woman able to have children. This is really good news for women at high risk for ovarian cancer. Normally these women, if they wish to make preemptive strike at the cancer opt to have their ovaries removed which leaves them healthy, but infertile.

The new approach being pioneered at the Oregon Health & Science University’s Oregon National Primate Research Center focuses on a layer of cells called epithelium which surrounds the ovary. These cells are where ovarian cancer begins. Interestingly, these cells have no known purpose.

Testing has currently only been done on healthy female monkeys, but the results are encouraging. The animals continued to produce eggs at a normal rate, estrogen and progesterone continued their release in normal cyclical patterns. There were no side effects to the surgery.

“While additional studies are necessary, this procedure suggests that we may have found a much less invasive strategy for preventing ovarian cancer in high-risk women while at the same time maintaining fertility,” said Jay Wright, Ph.D., a scientist in the Division of Reproductive Sciences at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. “This is key to finding in monkeys because their reproductive system is so similar to the human female reproductive system.”

Source: Oregon Health & Sciences University, ScienceDaily


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