Enhancing Chemotherapy and Protecting the Heart

Researchers at the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry have found a way to increase chemotherapy's effectiveness while shielding the heart from its harmful side effects. Many chemotherapeutic drugs, including anthracyclines such as doxorubicin, are known to cause damage to the heart as a result of the activation of p53. This protein fights cancer by inducing apoptosis—programmed cell death—in tumors. However, it also induces apoptosis in other organs, including the heart, whe...
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Chemotherapy Agents Differ in Long-Term Cardiac Risks

​ Although anthracyclines—chemotherapeutic agents that are extracted from Streptomyces bacterium—can be highly effective in the fight against various pediatric cancers, they carry a long-term risk of cardiovascular disease that continues to impact patients well into their adult lives. While this much is well known, the impact of specific anthracyclines on cardiac risk has not been adequately studied. In a study published in JAMA Oncology , researchers have now identified the relative long-t...
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“Sponge” Absorbs Excess Chemo Drugs to Avoid Side Effects

​ Chemotherapy can be highly effective at treating cancer, but doctors often cannot prescribe the optimal cancer-killing dose due to systemic toxic side effects. When chemotherapy is administered to a cancerous organ via intra-arterial infusion, 50% to 80% of the drug generally does not remain in that organ. The excess passes on to the veins that drain the organ, entering the circulatory system, where it gets distributed to the rest of the body. Researchers from the University of California, Ber...
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Therapeutic Target Identified in Chemo Brain

Chemotherapy is a life-saving treatment for many patients with cancer. However, it can also leave patients with lasting neurological deficits through a condition commonly known as "chemo brain." "It's wonderful that they're alive, but their quality of life is really suffering," commented Erin Gibson, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine. "If we can do anything to improve that, there is a huge population that could benefit." In a study published in Cell , D...
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Preventing Premature Menopause in Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can cure early-stage breast cancer, but it can also result in premature menopause, a highly unwelcome long-term side effect. In the final results of its investigation, the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)'s Prevention of Early Menopause Study (POEMS) reports a potential solution: women who receive goserelin (Zoladex®, AstraZeneca) along with standard chemotherapy for hormone-receptor negative breast cancer increase their chances of becoming pregnant without negatively impacting ...
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