New drug may prevent chemotherapy-induced nerve damage

 Researchers have successfully tested a new molecule that is capable of preventing the development of a nerve damaging condition caused by chemotherapytreatment in cancer patients.

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is the most prevalent neurological complication of anti-cancer treatment and a common dose-limiting side effect.

An estimated 30 per cent to 40 per cent of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy experience the neurological complication, characterised by tingling, numbness, weakness and pain from nerve damage, usually in the hands and feet.

This causes a negative impact on the quality of life of the patient, and leads to dose reduction or discontinuation of chemotherapy, with the potential decrease of survival chances that entails.

However, the new molecule was found to prevent the onset of this adverse effect, said researchers from the Bellvitge University Hospital in Spain.

The findings, of the clinical trial detailed in the journal Neurotherapeutics, showed that individuals who took the new drug demonstrated a decrease in the appearance of disorders associated with nerve dysfunction.

"The Phase 2b clinical trial (randomised with placebo) has allowed us to get a great deal of scientific information -- effect on pain, pathophysiology -- and draw conclusions as to the potential of the drug in the prevention of neuropathies during cytostatic treatment", said lead author Jordi Bruna from the varsity.

"This new drug could potentially reach the market soon, since it would be the first available treatment to avoid this type of neuropathy. In addition, it has other medical uses as a non-opioid analgesic."



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