Sunday December 15, 2019

New Cancer Treatment To Prevent Hair Loss From Chemotherapy

A novel method discovered recently by a group of researchers, including one of Indian-origin, shows how hair loss from chemotherapy can be prevented during cancer treatment

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Cancer, Chemotherapy, Tiny Bubbles, Research, Treatment
A Caucasian female nurse smiles as she administers chemotherapy through a catheter to an African American male patient in a clinical setting. Wikimedia Commons

A novel method discovered recently by a group of researchers, including one of Indian-origin, shows how hair loss from chemotherapy can be prevented during cancer treatment in patients, arguably one of the most psychologically distressing side effects of modern cancer therapy.

The study published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine describes how damage to the hair follicles caused by taxanes, cancer drugs which can cause permanent hair loss, can be prevented.

To do this, the research team has exploited the properties of a newer class of drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors, which block cell division and are already medically approved as so-called “targeted” cancer therapies.

Cancer, Treatment, Hair, Chemotherapy
Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, a cancer treatment. I was closely affected cancer even though it was at a young age I am still impacted by it everyday. Hair loss is obviously only one of the many burdens a cancer patient must face. Wikimedia Commons

“Although at first, this seems counterintuitive, we found that CDK4/6 inhibitors can be used temporarily to halt cell division without promoting additional toxic effects in the hair follicle. When we bathed organ-cultured human scalp hair follicles in CDK4/6 inhibitors, the hair follicles were much less susceptible to the damaging effects of taxanes,” study lead author Talveen Purba from the University of Manchester said.

Taxanes are very important anti-cancer drugs commonly used to treat, for example, patients with breast or lung carcinoma and particularly cause anxieties among breast cancer patients for the very distressing and sometimes long-lasting hair loss taxanes can induce.

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“A pivotal part of our study was to first get to grips with how exactly hair follicles responded to taxane chemotherapy, and we found that the specialised dividing cells at the base of the hair follicle that are critical for producing hair itself, and the stem cells from which they arise, are most vulnerable to taxanes.

“Therefore, we must protect these cells most from undesired chemotherapy effects — but so that cancer does not profit from it,” Purba said.

The researchers underscore that more work is desperately needed in this lamentably under-funded field of cancer medicine, where patients have waited for so long to see real breakthroughs in pharmacological hair loss prevention. (IANS)

Next Story

Saliva Test can Detect Oropharyngeal Cancer

Saliva test can detect mouth, throat cancer early

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cancer
Saliva test shows promise for earlier and easier detection of mouth and throat cancer. Pixabay

A non-invasive saliva test can detect human papilloma virus-16 — the strain associated with oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) — showing promise for earlier and easier detection of mouth and throat cancer, report researchers.

The novel technique detected OPC in whole saliva in 40 per cent of patients tested and 80 per cent of confirmed OPC patients.

OPC has an approximate incidence of 115,000 cases per year worldwide and is one of the fastest-rising cancers owing to increasing HPV-related incidence, especially in younger patients.

“It is paramount that surveillance methods are developed to improve early detection and outcomes,” said co-lead investigator Tony Jun Huang from Duke University in the US.

Cancers that occur in the back of the mouth and upper throat are often not diagnosed until they become advanced, partly because their location makes them difficult to see during routine clinical exams.

saliva test cancer
Cancers that occur in the back of the mouth and upper throat are often not diagnosed until they become advanced. Pixabay

“The successful detection of HPV from salivary exosomes isolated by our acoustofluidic platform offers distinct advantages, including early detection, risk assessment and screening,” added Dr Huang in a paper published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

This technique may also help physicians predict which patients will respond well to radiation therapy or achieve longer progression-free survival.

In the study, investigators analyzed saliva samples from 10 patients diagnosed with HPV-OPC using traditional methods.

They found that the technique identified the tumour biomarker in 80 per cent of the cases when coupled with the traditional detection method called droplet digital PCR.

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“The saliva exosome liquid biopsy is an effective early detection and risk assessment approach for OPC,” said co-lead investigator David TW Wong from University of California-Los Angeles.

According to the researchers, this technology can also be used to analyze other biofluids such as blood, urine and plasma. (IANS)