Netherlands University Scientists Discover What Stops Chemotherapy's Negative Side EffectsBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Scientists from the University of Groningen in Netherlands were able to find a drug that helps stop the negative side effects of chemotherapy. The study also found that it was less likely for the mice, which were the test subjects, to have a relapse.
New Scientist reported that Marco Demaria of Netherlands' University of Groningen questioned whether senescence may be responsible for the negative side effects of chemotherapy. Senescence is when older cells stop dividing naturally and excrete chemicals that cause inflammation, damaging its surrounding tissue.
This type of cells is linked to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, osteoporosis and heart failure. Demaria and his colleagues studied the effect of senescent cells, which they made fluorescent, on genetically engineered mice. Afterwards, they then gave the mice cancer as well as one of four common chemotherapy drugs: doxorubicin, cisplatin, paclitaxel and temozolomide
It was found that chemotherapy increased the level of senescent cells in the mice. These cells were witnessed in the test subjects' liver, lung, heart, skin and fat.
Moreover, the mice began showing the usual negative side effects of chemotherapy. They also became less active and developed problems with their hearts and bone marrow.
In another experiment, Demaria and his colleagues gave some of the test subjects a drug that is known to kill senescent cells a week after they received chemotherapy. The researchers discovered that the side effects were alleviated.
The mice were also more active and did not develop the same health problems as the other group. Furthermore, they were less likely to have their cancer return later on.
Cancer.org noted that chemotherapy usually damages normal cells along with the bad cells. This includes blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, hair follicles and cells in the mouth, digestive tract and reproductive system.
According to Digital Trends, there is a possibility that the same findings can be extrapolated to humans. The Netherlands university scientists found that a higher number of senescent cells before chemotherapy correlated with increased fatigue after treatment in human patients with breast cancer, similar to the way the mice behaved.