Ilana Chefetz

$250,000 grant will study effects of cancer treatment on fertility

Institute's Dr. Ilana Chefetz will lead innovative study to help young women

As if cancer were not traumatic enough, there is another fear common to most young women undergoing treatment for cancer - the concern of chemotherapy affecting fertility.  Dr. Ilana Chefetz, leader of Cancer Stem Cells and Necroptosis lab at The Hormel Institute, was awarded a 2020 Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Research Grant for her cancer research project, “Ovarian Mesenchymal Stem Cells.” The study will take an innovative approach to fighting the effects of cancer treatment on women’s fertility, using the body’s own healing abilities, an approach called regenerative medicine.

“Currently, about 5% of women diagnosed with cancer are of reproductive age and these young survivors may face fertility problems, due to chemotherapy-induced ovarian failure,” shares Dr. Chefetz. “Factors that are responsible for chemotherapy-induced ovarian damage are not well characterized. The understanding of these mechanisms may lead to targeted treatments to preserve fertility. We propose to use mesenchymal stem cells to improve ovarian function.”

Some chemotherapy treatments, and other cancer treatments, can cause temporary or permanent fertility loss for women. Research can help to find new and better options for women going through cancer treatment who are concerned about preserving their fertility.

Dr. Chefetz is one of only fourteen grant recipients from Regenerative Medicine Minnesota for 2020. The $250,000 grant will be active for two years, providing $125,000 in research funding each year.

Regenerative Medicine Minnesota is a statewide initiative to support regenerative medicine research and therapies through scientific, clinical, educational, and commercial advances. Grants are given for research, clinical practice, biobusiness development and education. Regenerative Medicine Minnesota is overseen by the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic.  


The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota is a leading cancer research department of UMN and part of the Masonic Cancer Center, an NCI Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Collaborative research partners include Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Columbia University, University of Arizona and more renowned centers worldwide. The Hormel Institute tripled in size in 2008 and again doubled in size in 2016.  Currently the faculty, researchers and staff are comprised of 140 leading cancer research scientists and 20 cancer research sections. Over the next few years, The Hormel Institute UMN will add another 130 new faculty, research and staff jobs as part of its expansion as it continues to perform world-class research in the quest to prevent and control cancer.


The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota
Gail Dennison, MA
507 437 9604

Brenna Gerhart
507 437 9601