Standard cytotoxic cancer therapy often causes the death of the oocytes in primordial follicles, predisposing women to infertility and premature menopause. In the past, these reproductive side effects were considered acceptable consequences of curative chemotherapy and radiation regimens. However, with survivorship rates now as high as 80% for some cancers, there is a critical need to improve the long-term health and wellbeing of women post-treatment. Currently available methods to preserve fertility in female cancer patients include the freezing and storage of oocytes and embryos for use once treatment has been completed. However, these strategies are not appropriate for pre-pubertal girls (they cannot produce mature eggs) and do not protect against the risk of premature menopause because the ovaries remain in the body and are still exposed to damaging chemotherapy drugs or radiation. Consequently, new methods to protect oocytes from death are essential to preserve fertility and maintain ovarian hormone production in girls and women undergoing cancer treatment.The goal of this study is to develop targeted methods to promote DNA repair and oocyte survival after γ-irradiation and chemotherapy.
fertility, cancer, chemotherapy, oncofertility, apoptosis, DNA repair
Biomedicine Discovery Institute (School of Biomedical Sciences) » Anatomy and Developmental Biology
Top-up scholarship funding available