June is Men's Health Month

Anchored by a Congressional health education program, Men’s Health Month aims to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease.

The broad-ranging research of Weizmann Institute scientists addresses multiple areas of men’s health, including fighting cancers that are common to men. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Every year, cancer claims the lives of nearly 300,000 men in America.” Weizmann research, such as a method for timely detection of prostate cancer, can help protect our fathers, brothers, husbands, friends. Read on for just a few examples of how Institute science is benefitting men’s health.

Fighting prostate cancer with light

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, with the exception of skin cancer, and is the second most common cause of cancer death. By combining individually innocuous components such as chlorophyll and light, Weizmann scientists have created a toxic combination that destroys tumors while leaving surrounding tissue intact. This photodynamic therapy (PDT) is being studied as a frontline treatment for prostate cancer. Read more.

Early detection of prostate cancer

Early detection is key to treating cancer; however, recommended screening for prostate cancer is based on a combination of methods that are not sensitive or reliable enough, and biopsies can be painful and invasive. Fortunately, Weizmann’s Prof. Amos Breskin and colleagues have developed a new concept for prostate cancer diagnosis, launching an R&D program for a non-invasive, transrectal probe that will generate zinc maps of the prostate gland through x-ray imaging. Read more.

In addition, Prof. Hadassa Degani’s Three Time Point (3TP), an MRI-based non-invasive imaging method, is FDA approved for diagnosing both breast cancer and prostate cancer. Read more.

Reversing metastasis in colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Fortunately, Weizmann Institute scientists are making progress against it, and have succeeded in reversing the metastatic properties of colon cancer cells in vitro. The findings uncover a key process involved in the metastasis of colon cancer cells and raise hopes that target-specific drugs might be devised to prevent, or reverse, the invasive behavior of metastatic colon cancer cells. Read more.

Discovered: sperm guidance system

It was long thought that sperm find their way to the ovum by serendipitous chance. However, in a true conceptual revolution in the field of mammalian reproduction, Prof. Michael Eisenbach has shown that not only are sperm guided to their destination, they are directed by not one, but two, guidance mechanisms: chemical and temperature gradients, or chemotaxis and thermotaxis. Beyond advancing the state of the knowledge, these findings have clinical implications; e.g., in cases of infertility, they could serve as a diagnostic tool for sperm quality and as a way to increase the number of sperm cells that have fertilizing potential. Read more.

Predicting which smokers get lung cancer

Lung cancer kills more men in the U.S. each year than any other form of cancer, with 9 out of 10 of those deaths due to smoking. Weizmann scientist Prof. Zvi Livneh pinpointed an enzyme that plays a role in protecting individuals against lung cancer and may help explain why some people get cancer and others don’t. A simple blood test can help assess a smoker’s risk for lung cancer, making it easier to persuade high-risk smokers to kick the habit. Read more:
Blood Test for Smokers
An Enzyme Could Decide Who Gets Lung Cancer

Women’s tears reduce testosterone

Prof. Noam Sobel has found that emotional signals are chemically encoded in tears, and that these chemicals are a turnoff for men: in fact, merely sniffing a woman’s tears – even when the crying woman is nowhere in the vicinity – causes a significant dip in testosterone and reduces sexual arousal in men. Read more.

In addition, the scientists suspect that the testosterone-lowering effect could even help treat prostate cancer. Read more.