Testosterone Injections: The Key To Combat Cancer
Testosterone Injections: The Key To Combat Cancer
Testosterone is an important hormone for all men. In fact, it has been identified as the key to manliness and many men from around the world are taking the hormone supplements to boost their manhood. Few men realize that testosterone could be an important hormone to combat cancer. This happens because testosterone tends to slow down the progression of the prostate tumor in patients.
Since 1940s, scientists have known that reducing the amount of testosterone and other sex hormones can help a great deal in restraining the growth of the prostate tumors. In fact, one of the most common forms of treating prostate cancer that has spread to many body parts is called chemical castration. Chemical castration is a procedure which reduces the amount of testosterone that is produced in the body. It also involves restricting other types of hormones. However, this process has its disadvantage in that it is not long lasting because the cancer cells soon adopt to the low testosterone levels and continue growing. A good example is when they often convert to new versions of receptor cells and grow faster than before in the new hormonal surroundings. Researchers have often developed new solutions to halt this degeneration. One of the most common solution is that of drugs that block the resistance of the testosterone receptors. However, these cells develop resistance to these drugs and continue to grow.
New studies have identified a new paradox on what is commonly known as the castration-resistant prostate cancer. This is according to research conducted by cells of humans and animals put inside a dish with testosterone. According to the research, when cancer cells that are good with scarce testosterone often die when subjected to high concentration of testosterone. On the other hand, cancer cells that do well in high concentration of testosterone do badly when placed in a dish with a low concentration of testosterone. Experts believe that this is as a result of the extra hormone which often prevents the duplication of the DNA with the result being the fracture of the DNA which is very dangerous for cells. The main derivative of this study is that testosterone injections are very helpful against cancerous tumors.
This report was conducted by an oncologist from the University of Washington called Michael Schweizer in collaboration with scientists from John Hopkins University. In the study, they had a sample size of 16 men who had prostate cancer which had become very resistant to chemical castration. The people had cancer that had spread throughout the body and one that had metastasized.
During the research period, the men continued with their daily medication of chemical castration therapy. However, testosterone was injected to their body every 28 days.
The results were startling. Whenever they were injected with testosterone, the blood testosterone levels went up above normal before declining to a normal level.
The objective of this study was to let the cancer cells experience different sets of environments. This is because if the cells are made to be on the same surrounding, they will develop mechanisms to survive and grow.
During the oscillations, the hormonal peak will kill cells that have adopted to the new highs.
How results were measured
To measure the efficiency of the results, the researchers came up with a test that would indicate the level of prostate cancer growth. They measured this by measuring the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. The results from 7 of the subjects indicated that their PSA levels went up during the first 3 months of the study which means that the treatment was not effective. In the remaining 7 subjects, the PSA levels went down which suggested that they were probably benefiting from the treatment.
After conducting a high quality CT scan on 10 patients from the latter group, the researchers found out that the metastases had become smaller while in other patients, they noted that they had disappeared. The scientists revealed these results in the Science Translational Medicine.
Common side effects to the procedure
While the results of the study were positive, patients experienced a number of side effects. Some of these side effects were: loss of hair, nausea and blood clotting. For patients who backed off from the research, one of them passed away from pneumonia. Other side effects include lack of appetite and depression among the patients.
Many doctors including Dr. Charles Ryan are a bit worried about the research. According to Dr. Charles Ryan, though the study proved that it is useful in cancer treatment, he vows not to change the way he treats cancer until adequate research has been done.
Another critique of the research was Dr. Christopher Logothetis who believes that the whole process was not complete. He questions why the distinguished researchers failed to test the biopsy samples to examine the impact of the testosterone on the tumors. More research which will provide facts about prostate cancer and testosterone is being carried out in many labs.Tagged