NUS researchers identify novel protein to prevent neuropathy from chemotherapy

February 17, 2020

Singapore, 17 Feb 2020 -- A team of researchers from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine has identified a novel protein that would prevent the development of neuropathy in cancer patients who receive chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly recommended treatments for many forms of cancer. One major side effect, however, is peripheral neuropathy, or the damage or dysfunction of one or more nerves that typically results in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and pain in the affected area. It frequently starts in a patient's hands and feet, though other regions and parts of the body can also be affected.

At the moment, there is no way to prevent or treat neuropathy caused by chemotherapy drugs. The only option is to limit or discontinue the chemotherapy treatment. As a result, many patients are not able to tolerate chemotherapy well.

In a recent study published by the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a team of researchers jointly led by Assistant Professor Raymond Deron Herr and Assistant Professor Raghav Sundar from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine set out to examine whether S1P2, a receptor protein that resides on the surface of cells in the nervous system, is a potential target in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. The team first looked at the effects of platinum-based chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin, on the regulation of S1P2 and found that chemotherapy alters S1P2 activity. The team further demonstrated that the activation of S1P2 with a drug-like compound, can protect the nerve cells from damage and pain. This is in contrast to the accumulation of free radicals in nerves, leading to nerve degeneration when the receptor is removed. The team concluded that it is possible to block both the nerve injury and the pain when S1P2 is activated with a drug while administering cisplatin.

There are three major classes of drugs that cause neuropathy: platinum compounds (cisplatin and oxaliplatin), taxanes (paclitaxel), and a targeted medication known as bortezomib.

"While the study focused on the effects of cisplatin, based on what we know about the molecular processes, it is likely that an S1P2 drug will work in all cases of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Furthermore, it is possible that such a drug could treat many other forms of neuropathy, such as those caused by nerve injury, autoimmune disease, or diabetes," said Dr Herr.

"Neuropathy or numbness from chemotherapy is a common and debilitating side-effect faced by patients, with few proven treatments. Our study provides a deeper understanding of the biology of this condition, allowing potential treatments to reduce chemotherapy-induced neuropathy to be developed. We are currently exploring new drug molecules that would allow the activation of S1P2 in a more effective and stable manner," added Dr Sundar, who is also a Consultant with the Department of Haematology-Oncology at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) and the National University Hospital.
The clinical data for this study was generated from Singaporean cancer patients undergoing treatment at NCIS, a National University Health System institution.

In a nod to Dr. Herr and Dr. Sundar's groundbreaking research in the area of pharmacology, the study has been selected as the cover story in the 24 Jan edition of Journal of Biological Chemistry.

National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to