Gold enhanced FSH identified cancerous tumors in mice.: image via the Scottish Rock Garden Club (srgc.org.uk)Follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) are generally associated with the development and support of reproductive processes in the body. But scientists at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, discovered that FSH is also found in the blood cells that feed cancerous tumors. This discovery raises hopes that a targeted FSH injection can not only identify tumors, but can deliver cancer killing drugs to the identified tumors.
Researchers identified 11 different kinds of cancer tumors that contain the FSH receptor, including breast, ovarian, prostrate, color, lung, and liver cancers that are the most common and most fatal cancers in humans. Blood sample were collected from the cancerous tumors of more than 1,300 people and the FSH receptor was found in every tumor.
Then, the teams tested the ability of FSH to identify tumors by injecting the protein, within a gold-particle mixture, into mice. The gold particle mixture enabled the researchers to see via X-ray where the FSH proteins attached in the bloodstream.
Sure enough, the FSH proteins bound only to tumor blood vessels; none were attached to normal tissue. This promising result encourages the scientists to continue their research, translating their tumor identification model for mice, into one that can be used to identify tumors in humans.
This study is published in today's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.