Cellular therapy has revolutionized cancer treatments and outcomes for many patients, and it may one day revolutionize the management of certain side effects as well. According to study findings published in eBioMedicine, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) transplantation may help reverse chemotherapy’s endocrine and reproductive effects on female infertility. 

For their in vivo study, researchers injected differentiated iPSCs into subfertile mice who had been exposed to human ovarian cancer cells and treated with gonadotoxic chemotherapy. After the treatment, the researchers stimulated the mice with gonadotropins to induce oocyte development, then cross bred them with wild-type mice to assess fertility. All of the bred mice produced healthy embryos, and one of them achieved two subsequent pregnancies. 

Much more research is needed for cellular treatments for chemotherapy-related infertility to reach clinical practice, but “this proof-of-principle study shows that you can take nonreproductive cells and make them into functional eggs that can develop into multiple generations of live animals,” the researchers said. “The study is exciting because it gives hope to patients with ovarian failure that they may be able to have biological children and make reproductive hormones.” 

Get guidance for talking to your patients about cancer-related infertility and fertility preservation on the Oncology Nursing Podcast, and use ONS’s Fertility Preservation Huddle Card™ to understand your patients’ risk factors and associated nursing considerations.