New research findings mitigate concerns over infertility risk associated with cancer therapies

University of Helsinki | HEALTH NEWS

Some cancer therapies cause infertility in child patients. Thanks to research, doctors will soon know to whom to offer therapies for preserving fertility.

Kirsi Jahnukainen is a professor of paediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine.

What are your research top­ics?
I investigate the effects of cancer therapies on the reproductive ability of paediatric patients. I develop techniques that can improve the possibility of children and adolescents who have had cancer to have children of their own as adults.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an im­pact?
My research benefits all children and adolescents who develop cancer. In the future, we will know with increasing accuracy which cancer therapies damage gonadal tissue.

We are learning who should be offered the opportunity to preserve their fertility and which methods to use to do so.

We will also be able to guarantee to many patients that no procedures linked with fertility are necessary, as the planned cancer therapy does not cause infertility.

What is par­tic­u­larly in­spir­ing in your field right now?
With the help of single-cell analysis, three-dimensional cell cultures grown from tissue, and other novel technical solutions, we are able to study the complexity of children’s gonadal tissue and how gonadal cells change as they mature.

This is crucial information when developing techniques for fertility preservation that are increasingly suitable for children.

Watch Kirsi Jahnukainen’s inaugural lecture as a new professor on 27.5.2021 on YouTube.