Cancer drug could prevent paedophiles from offending

May 19th 2016


‘What is considered a negative side effect when you treat patients with prostate cancer, reduced sexual drive, we use as the wanted effect in this [paedophilic disorder] patient population.’

Researchers in Sweden have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a clinical trial which would test the efficacy of an anticancer drug in the treatment of male paedophiles.

The drug, Degarelix, reduces the amount of testosterone produced by the testes. A reduction in testosterone is beneficial firprostate cancer patients as the hormone promotes the growth of tumours. One side-effect of treatment is reduced sexual drive, an effect that Dr Christoffer Rahm hopes to his advantage in the treatment of paedophiles. Along with self-correction and empathy, levels of sexual arousal are considered to be key risk factors that determine whether someone with paedophilic disorder will offend.

Alice Williamson reports.

‘With this medicine we might actually reduce these risk factors, thereby reducing the risk of someone with paedophilic disorder committing sexual abuse’

The team at the Karolinska Institute are running the Priotab project and overseeing a double blind clinical trial for 60 men, recruited on a helpline affiliated with the institute, PrevenTell. This is the first trial of it’s kind for paedophilic disorder and is necessary in order to find scientific proof for the efficacy and safety of a new medicine for ‘chemical castration’. The use of placebos has raised some ethical concerns owing to the fact that some of the patients may be at risk of offending, but Dr Rahm explained that ‘the participants in this study are better monitored that patients in regular treating programs for paedophilia.’

Degarelix works much more quickly than other chemical castration drugs and without the dangerous spike in testosterone levels seen in other medicines.

‘Degarelix has an immediate onset of effect, in only 3 days following the injection, 97% of the men have no or almost no detectable levels of testosterone left in the blood and there is no initial flare.’

Money for the trial is being raised on a crowdfunding platform, which leaves the researchers free to investigate the drug without any constraints or potential conflicts of interest from the manufacturer.

In addition to the clinical trial, the Priotab project will look for biomarkers such as molecules in the blood or patterns in brain activity that could serve as further indicators of risk in male paedophilic disorder.

Find out more at their YouTube page.


Oscar is Backchat‘s digital producer.

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