V Foundation Funds Research to Address Lingering Side Effect of Chemotherapy

Donna Hammond, PhD, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Anesthesia, has received a three-year award from the V Foundation to investigate treatment for cancer survivors who experience unpleasant sensations, like tingling or burning, in hands and feet after their cancer treatment ends.

The phenomenon, called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), is quite common within a month after finishing cancer treatment, and it can last for months or even years after treatment in up to 30 percent of cancer survivors, Dr. Hammond said.

“The simple touch of clothing or holding a cold can of soda may feel painful,” she said. “Pin pricks or paper cuts may hurt more than expected.” In some cases, these abnormal sensations “can seriously diminish the quality of life and interfere with self-care and daily living activities.”

Dr. Hammond’s lab has shown that a specific type of vitamin B3 can prevent these kinds of abnormal sensations in rats. Just as important, it also can reverse CIPN that persists after the last dose of a common chemotherapy drug.

With the funding from the V Foundation, Dr. Hammond hopes to determine whether daily treatment with this vitamin can produce similar results in humans.

The impact could be staggering for the estimated 4.5 million cancer survivors who suffer from CIPN.

“Right now, there are no effective drugs for these survivors,” Dr. Hammond said. “If we can develop a treatment that prevents or reverses CIPN, we can help improve their quality of life after cancer treatment.”

The V Foundation committed $600,000 to Dr. Hammond’s research over the next three years.


Friday, January 25, 2019