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10 December 2016

A common treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma may lead to new eggs appearing in women's ovaries, British scientists say today.

Researchers found a large number of immature, non-growing eggs in the ovaries of women treated with ABVD.

The treatment was known not to have an impact on female fertility - but the latest findings suggest it may hold clues to improving or restoring fertility.

ABVD involves the drugs adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine.

The Edinburgh University researchers say they now plan to study each of the drugs individually to pin down the biological mechanisms. They believe the treatment resulted in increased production of eggs.

They report their findings in the journal Human Reproduction today.

They compared ovaries from eight patients treated with ABVD, another six treated with another chemotherapy and another 12 healthy women.

Researcher Professor Evelyn Telfer said: "This study involves only a few patients, but its findings were consistent and its outcome may be significant and far-reaching.

"We need to know more about how this drug combination acts on the ovaries, and the implications of this."

She added today: “I think it’s a pretty big deal. It is the first time that we have ever been able to see new follicles being formed within the ovary, and it may only be a small number of women, but it is significant that the same effect was seen in all of the women on ABVD."

Source: Human Reproduction 6 December 2016

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