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OHSU is part of national effort to preserve, restore fertility in women with cancer
Date:9/11/2007

Portland, Ore. - The Oregon National Primate Research Center and the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine have been named to a national team of institutions hoping to preserve or restore fertility in women battling cancer. The Oncofertility Consortium, funded for five years by the National Institutes of Health, features participants from five universities and comprises researchers, physicians, engineers, educators, social workers and medical ethicists.

Biomedical research has helped save the lives of many women battling cancer, explained Richard Stouffer, Ph.D., director of the research team at OHSU. Stouffer also directs ONPRCs reproductive sciences division and is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine. However, the powerful chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to beat cancer can also result in a loss of reproductive function, which is a tremendous blow to young cancer patients who hope to have children. The bottom-line goal for this research team across the United States is to help these women through various avenues including research, treatment and counseling.

Additional members of the OHSU research team include Mary Zelinski, Ph.D., an affiliate assistant scientist at ONPRC, and David Lee, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Together the scientists are working on methods for restoring fertility in cancer patients by studying rhesus macaque monkeys who have reproductive systems very similar to humans. Specifically, the team is hoping to gain additional understanding about the growth of follicles in the ovaries and either to preserve or restart this function. Follicle growth is necessary for the development of oocytes (fertile eggs) in the ovaries.

Past research has demonstrated that cancer therapies often destroy follicles in the ovaries, thereby reducing fertilit
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Contact: Jim Newman
newmanj@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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