Scientists at Queen's Centre for Vision and Vascular Science have discovered the role of an enzyme which, when a patient receives chemotherapy, can cause life-threatening damage to the heart. This has, until now, restricted the amount of chemotherapy doses a patient can receive; but while protecting the heart, this dilutes the chemotherapy's effectiveness in destroying cancerous tumours.
By identifying the role of the enzyme - NADPH oxidase - work can now go ahead into making chemotherapy treatments more effective and reduce the toxic effects of cancer treatment on the heart.
Dr David Grieve, jointly leading on the research at Queen's School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences said: "While chemotherapy drugs are highly effective in treating a wide range of tumours, they can also cause irreversible damage to the heart. This means that doctors are restricted in the doses they can administer to patients. In recent years, scientists have been searching for new drugs to prevent these side-effects.
"Although we have known about the NADPH oxidase enzyme for many years, until now, we were not aware of its crucial role in causing heart damage associated with chemotherapy. Our research findings hold clear potential for the creation of new drugs to block the action of the enzyme, which could significantly reduce heart damage in cancer patients.
"Ultimately, this could allow for the safer use of higher doses of chemotherapy drugs and make the treatment more effective against tumours. Despite improved treatments, cancer is currently responsible for 25 per cent of all mortality in the western world. By reducing the risk of heart failure associated with chemotherapy, patient survival rates could be significantly increased."
Scientists at Queen's are now concentrating their efforts on further studies to define the precise role of NADPH oxidase in the development of heart failure associated with cancer therapies. It is hoped that these may lead to the development of a drug which would have the potential to save lives among cancer patients.
The research by Dr David Grieve and Professor Barbara McDermott was funded by the British Heart Foundation in Northern Ireland and published in leading international journal, Cancer Research.
Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen's University Communications Office on 00 44 (0)28 9097 5320 or email email@example.com
Notes to Editors
1. Dr David Grieve is available for interview. Interview bids and photo requests to Anne-Marie Clarke on 00 44 (0)28 9097 5320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. This research was published in the leading international journal, Cancer Research (Volume 70 (22); pages 9287).
3. Enzymes are proteins that catalyse (increase or decrease the rates of) chemical reactions.
4. Around 7 per cent of cancer patients treated with the upper limit dosage of chemotherapy agent Doxorubicin currently develop heart failure. Doxorubicin is commonly used in the treatment of a wide range of cancers. Its most serious adverse effect is life-threatening heart damage. The drug is administered intravenously, in the form of hydrochloride salt. The drug was originally isolated in the 1950s from bacteria found in soil samples taken from Castel del Monte, an Italian castle.
5. The Centre for Vision & Vascular Science is one of the four Research Centres within the newly reconfigured School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. The Centre's research is multidisciplinary in nature, with an integrated mixture of approaches ranging from basic cell and molecular biology, pathophysiology of disease, genetic analysis, protein chemistry, patient-based investigation and clinical trials (www.qub.ac.uk/cvvs)
6. Dr David Grieve: After being awarded an honours degree at University of Dundee in 1995, David moved to The Royal Veterinary College in London where he completed his PhD thesis on "The role of dietary lipoproteins in the initiation of atherosclerosis" in 1998. He was then appointed as a post-doctoral scientist by Professor Ajay Shah in the newly established Cardiovascular Division at King's College London, where he worked for almost 7 years and received comprehensive training in cardiovascular research. In 2005, he became a Lecturer in Cardiovascular Physiology within the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's University Belfast where he has now established his own research group. He has secured over £1 million in competitive grant funding, £800,000 of which has been as Principal Investigator. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers in the top journals in his subject area, including Circulation, Circulation Research, Journal of the American College of Cardiology and European Heart Journal. These publications carry an average impact factor of 6.5 and have received over 1200 citations. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed conference abstracts which have been largely presented at the main cardiovascular research meetings such as the American Heart Association and International Society for Heart Research (ISHR). His main research interest is focussed on the mechanisms underlying the development and progression of cardiovascular remodeling and dysfunction, with a particular interest in oxidative stress, diabetes, and the novel actions of incretin peptide hormones.
Anne-Marie Clarke | EurekAlert!
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences