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Synthetic Estrogen

June 13, 2016

A form of estrogen that doesn’t promote cell division may make hormone replaement therapy a safer option for post-menopausal women.



Designer estrogen. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

While estrogen is best known for its effects on the reproductive system, it also repairs blood vessels, maintains bone density and regulates metabolism. But women who opt for hormone replacement therapy after menopause are warned that it also stimulates the division of cells in the breast and uterous, increasing cancer risk. Now, in the journal Science Signalling, University of Illinois researcher Benita Katzenellenbogen and her colleagues report developing a synthetic estrogen that can’t stimulate cell division.

BENITA KATZENELLENBOGEN (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign):

It suggests that we might be able to have only the beneficial effects of estrogen in terms of metabolic and vascular benefit, without any possibilities for increasing risk of breast and uterine cancer.


She says the designer estrogen was effective in mice and on human cells, but there haven’t yet been clinical trials.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon