Enteric Neuropathy as a Target to Alleviate Gastrointestinal Side-effects of Chemotherapy
- Research Opportunity
- PhD students, Masters by Research
- Department / Centre
- Medicine and Radiology
- Western Health
|A/prof Kulmira Nurgalifirstname.lastname@example.org||Personal web page|
Summary Chemotherapy is given to most cancer patients before or after surgery. Diarrhoea, constipation, oral mucositis, nausea and vomiting are experienced by 80-90% of patients as gastrointestinal (GI) side-effects of chemotherapeutic medications. As a result, patients often develop malnutrition and dehydration. Early death rates of up to 5% associated with chemotherapy are primarily due to GI toxicity.
The GI side-effects often limit the dose of chemotherapy reducing the efficacy of anti-cancer treatment. Chronic post-treatment diarrhoea can persist for over 10 years in cancer survivors. Most drugs used clinically to alleviate GI side-effects of chemotherapy have adverse effects themselves and often have limited efficacy, thus a search for novel therapies is crucial.
The traditional view is that GI side-effects of anti-cancer drugs are due to mucosal damage. However, while mucosal damage is undoubtedly significant for the acute symptoms associated with chemotherapy, persistence of GI symptoms long after treatment suggests that there is long term damage to GI innervation. The enteric nervous system resides within the gut wall and controls GI functions. Despite mounting evidence for chemotherapy-induced enteric neuropathy, research in this area is scarce.
Our recent published and unpublished studies in both chemotherapy-treated patients and animals revealed damage and death of enteric neurons contributing to GI side-effects. Our studies provide strong evidence that oxidative stress, direct toxicity and inflammation induce enteric neuropathy associated with chemotherapy. Our data demonstrate that co-treatment with neuroprotective and anti-oxidant agents alleviates enteric neuropathy and GI dysfunction as well as potentiates the anti-tumour efficacy of chemotherapy.
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PhD students, Masters by Research
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Department / Centre
Research NodeWestern Health
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