Around 1 in 285 children will develop some kind of cancer before they turn 20. Cancer is one of the deadliest disease that afflicts children and adolescents, taking an estimated 1,800 lives in the United States each year. Although scientists still haven’t developed a cure for cancer, there are a variety of treatments, including radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, that can attack fast-growing cancer cells and prevent them from growing.
However, most pediatric cancer treatments come with a variety of side effects, with treatments such as chemotherapy inadvertently causing unwanted side effects, including fatigue, mucositis, endocrine dysfunction, neurocognitive impairment, neurotoxicity, nausea and vomiting.
Thanks to a fellowship grant that was awarded to Dr. Hana Starobova from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, researchers from the University of Queensland are now looking for ways to eliminate such side effects
Some of the aforementioned side effects can even affect children long into their adult years, Starobova said, explaining that a five-year-old cancer patient could still be experiencing gastrointestinal problems, difficulty walking and severe pain up to two decades after completing cancer treatment.
There is a shortage of studies on minors, she said, stating that this is a critical issue as children tend to have faster metabolisms, their immune systems tend to function differently, and they suffer from different kinds of cancer. All of these factors affect how cancer treatments work, Starobova said, adding that her aim is to diagnose and treat pediatric cancer patients before cancer has taken root.
This will allow the patients to receive treatment while experiencing significantly reduced or no side effects, she explained. In a previous study, Starobova found that the nerve pain that often results from chemotherapy could be alleviated by an anti-inflammatory drug. Furthermore, the drug was able to reduce nerve pain without affecting the cancer treatment’s effectiveness.
She is now studying how cancer patients could alleviate the runaway inflammation that’s often caused by chemotherapy by taking specific drugs. This inflammation often causes numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, fatigue, weakness and muscle pain that makes it extremely difficult for patients to do everyday tasks such as walking.
Starobova will collaborate with Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute, Mater Children’s Private Brisbane and Brisbane’s Queensland Children’s Hospital for the research. Focusing on acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of cancer that affects more than 700 Australian children every year, she and her team will study the most common pediatric chemotherapy treatments to find therapies that have fewer short and long-term side effects.
The field of pediatric cancer is attracting plenty of investment dollars as shown by the way companies such as QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) are looking to develop treatments that improve the clinical outcomes of children diagnosed with various cancer types.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/QSAM
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