Growth hormone was first offered as a cadaveric derivative. In other words, it was obtained from (dead) human brains in the 1960s. After it was associated with Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease (think Mad Cow disease ), cadaveric growth hormone was pulled off the market in the 1980s, just as recombinant human growth hormone (hGH) became available. Since then, we've been monitoring patients closely in groups composed of children, cancer survivors, adults, and others.
The good news is that no concerns have been raised with regards to safety, especially in adult survivors of childhood cancers. However, it should also be noted that these open-label studies have been supported by the pharmaceutical companies, which falls far short of gold-standard double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Still, we can only make decisions today based upon information that's currently available, not what we'd like to know in the future. With that in mind, take some time to read a nice summary published this month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism . As always, don't forget the editorial . Follow @alvinblin