Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor: A Novel Agent for Reproductive Longevity and Equality

Leslie Coker Appiah, MD| The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; Benjamin Bitler, PhD
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Awardee Year: 2022

Advancements in cancer therapies have resulted in a sharp reduction in cancer mortality rates. However, lifesaving cancer treatments can jeopardize a woman’s reproductive longevity and impair her quality of life. It is estimated that 75% of survivors will experience at least one long-term adverse effect following cancer therapy. Infertility is most notably recognized as a common and devastating consequence of cancer treatment. Currently available fertility preservation procedures can mitigate the adverse effects of cancer therapy on reproductive health but are often not feasible due to their invasive nature and cost; thus, creating inequities in access across diverse populations. Recent basic science breakthroughs have identified granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) as an effective therapy to preserve ovarian function in animal studies. However, there have been no studies assessing the effectiveness of G-CSF to preserve fertility and hormone function in the human ovary despite its widespread use in clinical practice, ease of administration, and low side effect protocol. We aim to determine the efficacy of G-CSF as an ovarian protective agent in women, and in doing so, equitably restore fertility and hormone function to millions of girls and women with cancer across the world. The timing of this novel proposal is prime as the successful application of this therapy will not only impact cancer survivors but also the increasing population of women who are unable to conceive due to an age-related decline in fertility and women born with a genetic predisposition to premature menopause.

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