A team of researchers, including UNC Lineberger’s Norman E. Sharpless, MD, has shown that chemotherapy triggers a pro-inflammatory stress response termed cellular senescence, promoting the adverse effects of chemotherapy as well as cancer relapse and metastasis. Eliminating the senescent cells in mice prevented the side effects and relapse.
UNC Lineberger member Andrew Wang, MD, was senior author of a preclinical study published in the journal ACS Nano. Wang and collaborators found that they could improve cancer chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy treatments by delivering a combination of cancer-fighting drugs using nanoparticles.
With new funding, a UNC startup is poised to halt the most devastating effects of chemotherapy.
UNC Lineberger members and UNC School of Medicine researchers have found for the first time a biochemical mechanism that could be a cause of “chemo brain” – the neurological side effects such as memory loss, confusion, difficulty thinking, and trouble concentrating that many cancer patients experience while on chemotherapy to treat tumors in other parts of the body.
Physicians have long suspected that chemotherapy can accelerate the aging process in patients treated for cancer. Using a test developed at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to determine molecular aging, UNC oncologists have directly measured the impact of anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs on biological aging.
A team led by Cyrus Vaziri, PhD, and William Janzen at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for research that could help make chemotherapy drugs more effective.