Female sex hormones could protect against blood disorder

London, Dec 5:
Female sex hormones hold promise for treating certain blood disorders in both sexes for which there is currently no cure, a new study says.

Findings in mice with blood neoplasms – the excessive production of certain blood cells – suggest that a drug called tamoxifen, which targets estrogen receptors and is approved for the treatment of breast cancer, may also be used for blocking the development of blood neoplasms in humans.

Scientists have known for some time that men are at a higher risk than women of developing leukaemia.

“We did not know the causes behind the different incidence of leukaemia between men and women but sex hormones like estrogen could at least partly explain these differences,” said Simon Mendez-Ferrer from the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in Madrid.

The study revealed that estrogens regulate the survival, proliferation and self-renewal of stem cells that give rise to blood cancers.

“Our study demonstrates that targeting estrogen signalling with a clinically approved drug, at doses with an acceptable toxicity profile in humans, provides a novel potential therapeutic strategy for a set of neoplasms currently without a definitive cure,” added Mendez-Ferrer.

One of the most remarkable features of this study is its potential for translation to clinical practice in a relatively short time.

The study appeared in the journal Stem Cell. (IANS)

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