New technique to lessen side effects of chemotherapy

| | Updated on: Aug 15, 2012

Scientists claim to have developed a new technique which dramatically reduces the harmful side effects of chemotherapy by blocking oxygen—sensitive enzyme and streamlining the blood flow.

Researchers from VIB/KU Leuven, Belgium have found that chemotherapy combined with specific PHD2 inhibitors would make it more effective while reducing the harmful side effects.

The effectiveness of chemotherapy is limited by the difficulties of delivering the anticancer drugs to the actual tumour, researchers said in a statement.

Tumours are characterised by abnormally shaped blood vessels — they are irregular in shape, have weak textures and easily tear.

These leaking blood vessels prevent anticancer drugs from reaching tumour cells while promoting metastasis. Secondly, chemotherapy can have seriously harmful effects on healthy organs, leading even to heart and kidney failure.

Earlier research had already shown that reduced activity of the oxygen sensor PHD2 under hypoxic conditions resulted in a more streamlined vasculature.

In the new study, Rodrigo Leite de Oliveira, Sofie Deschoemaker and Max Mazzone used mouse models to prove their earlier hypothesis that streamlining blood flow by inhibiting PHD2 can render cancer treatments more effective.

Firstly, the better formed blood vessels ensure that the anticancer drugs are distributed throughout the tumour, thus increasing their impact.

They also allow for smaller doses — a significant advantage when administering toxic drugs.

The researchers further proved that inhibiting PHD2 results in the production of anti—oxidant enzymes were able to neutralise the harmful side effects of chemotherapy.

Published on March 12, 2018

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