Getting Estrogen Benefits Without Risk

DALLAS, June 28 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say studies in mice may help them learn how to extract estrogen’s benefits without incurring the risk of cancer.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas suggest drugs targeting certain estrogen receptors — proteins that make it possible for estrogen to function in the body — that are outside the cell nucleus may allow activation of estrogen’s cardiovascular benefits, but not estrogen’s cancer risks.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, describes how researchers created and tested in mice a synthetic molecule aimed at a small group of receptors outside the cell nucleus of endothelial cells. These receptors allow activation of blood vessel maintenance and repair functions without involving the nuclear receptors that also stimulate cancer cell growth.

“We’re at the stage where we can start to think about how to translate these findings to humans,” study senior author Dr. Philip Shaul said in a statement. “Finding a way to get the beneficial effects of estrogen without increasing a woman’s risk of cancer is something that could make a big difference to a lot of people.”

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