Chemotherapy May Be More Toxic To Brain Cells Than To Cancer Treatment

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Chemotheraphy and Brain

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Commonly used cancer treatment drugs may damage healthy brain cells more than the cancer cells they are meant to target. A study published today in the open access journal Journal of Biology shows that clinical doses of chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat many common cancers cause long-term damage to the brains of mice by killing neural stem cells and oligodendrocytes, which produce the myelin insulation needed for normal neuronal function, and by impairing neural stem cell division.

These results might explain the adverse neurological side effects - including reduction in cognitive abilities - observed in some cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. The approach used in the current study could also provide a rapid screening method to analyse new therapies and identify cell populations at risk during cancer treatment.

Working in the group of Mark Noble, from the University of Rochester in the USA, Joerg Dietrich and colleagues

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