And now, according to neuroscientist John Byrne, PhD. and his team at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, these animals may hold the key to preventing chemo brain.
As reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists found that the cancer drug, doxorubicin, blocked a pathway responsible for memory in a sea snail. But then—and this is the exciting part—they were able to reopen the pathway with an experimental drug.
Unfortunately, according to the university’s press release, the drug would not be appropriate for humans.
I was curious to learn more and so I wrote to Dr. Byrne. I wanted to know why the drug would not be appropriate and what agents might eventually work in humans.
He was kind enough to email this response:
"I think that we made an important step in understanding cognitive deficits associated with chemotherapy, but much needs to be done before this knowledge can be applied to patients. For example, we need to know that the p38 MAPK pathway is also involved in cognitive deficits in humans and then identify an effective inhibitor of that pathway (the one we used SB203580 is not FDA approved). Importantly, any inhibitor must be specific for the cognitive deficits and not affect the ability of the cancer drug to target and destroy cancer cells."
Okay, sounds interesting. Here's hoping advances move faster than at a snail’s pace. -- ID