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New Research Yields Clues on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Chemotherapy is a powerful combination of drugs used to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. But while it can be extremely effective in killing off cancer cells, it can also take its toll on healthy parts of the body - namely the nervous system. In fact, it can often cause a little-known condition called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, or CPIN. But while little is understood about CPIN or why exactly it occurs, for those who have it, it is very real and very hard to forget. That's because the pain from CPIN can often be debilitating, causing weakness, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

Thankfully, help may be on the way, because a team of researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is attempting to solve the mystery of what's causing CPIN – and how to stop it from happening.

What They Knew

One of the things researchers knew going in to the project was that certain types of chemotherapy drugs used to treat certain types of cancer were more commonly associated with CPIN, namely the drug Paclitaxel, which is used to treat ovarian, lung, neck, head and breast cancer. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 50 percent of patients who take Paclitaxel suffer from CPIN, both during and after chemotherapy.

What They Learned

The Miami scientists conducted their experiment by observing drosophila - more commonly known as fruit flies - that were exposed to Paclitaxel. The researchers then determined which actions caused nerve pain in the flies that developed CPIN. They were also able to discover that an enzyme with neuroprotective properties known as "Nmnat" could be used in future therapies due to its ability to manage the peripheral sensory neurons.

What This Means

While the research has yielded some fascinating information and promising potential treatments for the future, there is not enough known to use this information to treat CPIN or stop it from occurring just yet. For now, patients considering chemotherapy should do their due diligence and research all the possible side effects of chemotherapy before making their treatment decisions.

For those who choose chemotherapy and develop CPIN, there is still hope. Treatment methods like stem cell therapy, light therapy and electronic therapy are all safe, effective and minimally invasive methods for treating CPIN.

If you are interested in learning more about how Dr. Nathan Weller and Restore Wellness Center can help treat your CPIN or other peripheral neuropathy pain, please give us a call at 480-751-1629.

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Monday, 20 May 2019

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