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Discovery may help prevent chemotherapy-induced anemia
Date:5/5/2013

May 5, 2013 (Bronx, NY) Cancer chemotherapy can cause peripheral neuropathynerve damage often resulting in pain and muscle weakness in the arms and legs. Now, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered that chemo also induces an insidious type of nerve damage inside bone marrow that can cause delays in recovery after bone marrow transplantation. The findings, made in mice and published online today in Nature Medicine, suggest that combining chemotherapy with nerve-protecting agents may prevent long-term bone marrow injury that causes anemia and may improve the success of bone marrow transplants.

Constantly regenerating and maturing, the hematopoietic (blood-producing) stem cells in our bone marrow produce billions of red blood cells (RBC) every day. Cancer chemotherapy is notorious for injuring the bone marrow, leading to anemia, or low RBC counts. But just how chemotherapy harms the bone marrow has not been clear.

Anemia can lead to numerous health problems including chronic fatigue, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), cognitive impairment, shortness of breath, depression and dizziness. In addition, studies have shown that cancer patients who develop anemia have a 65 percent increased risk of death compared with cancer patients without anemia.

In an earlier study, senior author Paul Frenette, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and director of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Einstein, found that sympathetic nerves within bone marrow direct the movement of hematopoietic
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Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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