UTSA study describes drug that could prevent infertility in cancer patients
(Feb. 13, 2017) -- A new study led by Brian Hermann, assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), shows promising evidence that a medication previously used to prevent infections in cancer patients can also keep them from becoming infertile. Losing fertility is a frequent problem among cancer patients, as treatments for the disease often halt sperm production.
Hermann and his research team have been pursuing a number of cutting-edge research initiatives to restore fertility in men who have lost their ability to have children as a result of cancer treatments they received as children. While working on methods to restart sperm production, the researchers discovered a link between a drug for recovering cancer patients and the absence of normal damage to reproductive ability.
The drug is called G-CSF or granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. It stimulates the bone marrow to produce neutrophils, which are white blood cells that are needed to fight infections. They're commonly lost after chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
"We were using G-CSF to prevent infections in our research experiments," Hermann said. "It turned out that the drug also had the unexpected impact of guarding against male infertility."
Because cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy often kill sperm stem cells, male reproduction becomes essentially impossible. In Hermann's laboratory, G-CSF, by promoting cell growth, unexpectedly began creating new sperm stem cells to replace the dead ones.
A study authored by Hermann and his students was recently published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. Hermann's laboratory focuses almost exclusively on regenerating dead testicular tissue through the use of stem cells, making the project an exciting but unexpected detour that he hopes to continue, if possible.
The next step would be observing whether the drug, which is already in wide use by cancer patients, has any correlation with restored fertility among humans. Until then, Hermann is focusing on better understanding the stem cells that make reproduction possible, so he can find more effective solutions to treating male infertility.
"Male infertility is an intuitive disease and we need creative solutions," he said. "But we need to understand how things work before we can fix them."
UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Biology.
The Department of Biology and the Be the Match Team will collaborate to engage and educate our students in the importance of a life saving donation through peripheral blood stem cells and a marrow harvest.UC Paseo and Central Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA welcomes the Italian-born duo Bandini-Chiacchiaretta. They've toured the world performing Argentine Tango music on guitar and bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla. Tickets are $10 or free with UTSA Student I.D.Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
This an annual event is open to any student who wants to participate It includes a presentation about current events and issues involving East Asia. This event is meant to deepen understanding and to raise awareness of what is currently happening in East Asia.Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
Join the Women’s Studies Institute and Women’s Studies Program as we celebrate our fourteenth year of Women’s History Month at UTSA. During our program, we will award Olga Madrid as the 2017 Women’s Advocate of the Year.H-E-B University Center, Travis Room (HUC 2.202), Main Campus
Solomon’s House, presented by Sara Cusimano Miles, explores the collections repository of the Anniston Museum of Natural History in Alabama. It's free and open to the public.Arts Building (ARTS 3.01.18 B), Main Campus
Dr. Treva Lindsey is an associate professor at The Ohio State University. Dr. Lindsey’s area of expertise includes black feminist theory, women’s history, and popular culture. This lecture is free and open to the public.H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), Main Campus
Bruising for Besos is an art film and intimate character study of Yoli—a charismatic Xicana lesbian making familia in a queer/trans people of color scene in Los Angeles. This film contains content not suitable for people under 18.H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.106), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to participate in the 9th Annual Roadrunner Remembrance. Roadrunner Remembrance is a day of remembrance honoring members of our community (students, faculty, staff and alumni) who have passed away during the previous year.University Center Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus