Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, or UTSA, have found that a drug previously used to prevent infections in cancer patients could also prevent infertility.
Infertility is a common problem for cancer patients, especially in males because cancer treatments often stop sperm production.
The research team discovered a link between the drug G-CSF or granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and the regeneration of sperm production in men who had cancer as children and were infertile.
"We were using G-CSF to prevent infections in our research experiments," Brian Hermann, assistant professor of biology at UTSA and study author, said in a press release. "It turned out that the drug also had the unexpected impact of guarding against male infertility."
G-CSF stimulates the bone marrow to make neutrophils, which are white blood cells used to fight infections.
Hermann and his team determined that by promoting cell growth, G-CSF was able to regenerate sperm production.
"Male infertility is an intuitive disease and we need creative solutions," Hermann said. "But we need to understand how things work before we can fix them."
The study was published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.