Director of the CIB details the progress of his research on the reduction of neuropathies caused by chemotherapies

06-05-2020

Felipe New

06-05-2020

Dr. Felipe Court, together with academics Bruno Nervi and Margarita Calvo, recounts the results of therapy where they use metformin, a drug used in diabetic patients, as a compound to reduce side effects that occur in cancer patients, among numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet are counted.


The research began 6 years ago, when Dr. Felipe Court, director of the U. Mayor Center for Integrative Biology, began to collaborate with Dr. Bruno Nervi, who works at the Cancer Center of the Catholic University. They were later joined by Dr. Margarita Calvo, an expert in neuropathic pain.

Thus, after a time, the team that included doctoral students, medicine students, and several researchers, reached their first results in the laboratory, which indicated that metformin, one of the most widely used drugs in the regulation of glycemia in Diabetic patients also had an effect on neuronal degeneration, one of the causes of chemotherapy neuropathy.

"We found that metformin, a drug that is used clinically and has no major side effects in healthy people, could reduce the pain that cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy such as oxaliplatin develop," explains Dr. Court, who adds that "the most powerful thing about this finding made in preclinical laboratory models is that it could begin to be tested in humans for the characteristics of metformin, since it does not modify glycemia in people without diabetes and does not interfere with chemotherapy. in fact, it increases their effectiveness".

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. In Chile, approximately 26% of the deaths registered in 2017 were attributed to various types of cancer, being the second most important cause of death among people aged 65 and over.

Given this, the academic adds that "the main tool we have to avoid cancer-associated mortality are compounds known as chemotherapeutics. This group of drugs are used for their ability to inhibit cell proliferation and thus prevent tumor growth. Without However, in certain cases the side effects produced by the therapies are so aggressive that they limit their dose and their time of use, leading to the suspension of the chemotherapy treatment and significantly impacting on the survival of the patient".

Therefore, to optimize the efficacy of treatment and improve the quality of life of the patient, it is essential to identify drugs that efficiently prevent the toxic effects of chemotherapies.

"One of the most important side effects is the appearance of severe peripheral neuropathies (NPS) that affect the quality of life of patients. They are typically dose-dependent, so they can negatively affect cancer outcomes by forcing dose modifications and / or premature discontinuation of treatment, ”says Felipe Court. And he adds: “The NPS appears as an acute syndrome that appears shortly after the administration of chemotherapy, which consists of distal or perioral paresthesias and cold allodynia. The second effect is produced by dose accumulation and induces peripheral neuropathy and presents as chronic sensory neuropathy"

The course of NPS is unpredictable, symptoms may resolve after chemotherapy is discontinued, or they may continue for years. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet. In many cases, these sensorineural symptoms increase in intensity, can persist over time, and often include neuropathic pain.

"When oxaliplatin is used as a chemotherapy (currently being the treatment of choice for gastrointestinal cancers) the rate of patients reporting chronic NPS is 64-97% with at least 12% with severe neuropathy," explains Felipe Court, adding that " the onset of painful peripheral neuropathy during treatment may well require reduction of the chemotherapy dose or even cessation, limiting the potential benefits against cancer and a major impact on patient survival.Clinical data indicates that more than 60% of patients have to reduce or discontinue oxaliplatin because of this side effect. Various strategies have been proposed to prevent or treat NPS with little success. "

To read the published paper in the journal Neurobiology of Pain, enter https://www.sciencedirect.com/...

Source: https://www.diariomayor.cl/investigacion/ciencia/1819-investigacion-director-del-cib-detalla-los-avances-de-su-investigacion-sobre-la-disminucion-de-neuropatias-provocadas-por-quimioterapias

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