These findings are important, as there are currently no established therapies targeting this loss of skeletal muscle, and without an intervention, patients lose muscle function and become fatigued and weakened.
"We hoped to demonstrate these patients would go from not feeling well enough to even get out of bed to at least being able to have some basic quality of life that allows them to take care of themselves and receive therapy," Dr. Sheffield-Moore said.
Dr. Sheffield-Moore said doctors sought her expertise in nutrition and metabolism when patients were losing tremendous amounts of weight from cancer cachexia. She said that previous nutrition-focused treatment failed to combat this severe loss of body mass, which led her team to investigate the hormone testosterone as an option to combat the often debilitating consequences of cancer cachexia.
"We already know that testosterone builds skeletal muscle in healthy individuals, so we tried using it in a population at a high risk of muscle loss, so these patients could maintain their strength and performance status to be able to receive standard cancer therapies." Dr. Sheffield-Moore said.