Breakthrough can reduce heart failure in cancer patients

February 10th, 2011 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 10 (IANS) A breakthrough could help reduce heart failure among cancer patients worldwide and increase survival rates, researchers claim. Scientists at the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science, Queen’s University Belfast, have discovered the role of an enzyme which, when a patient receives chemotherapy, can cause serious 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 its effectiveness in destroying cancerous tumours, the journal Cancer Research reports.

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, according to a Queen’s University statement.

David Grieve, jointly leading the research at Queen’s School of Medicine, said: “While chemotherapy drugs are highly effective in treating a wide range of tumours, they can also cause irreversible damage to the heart.

“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,” he said.

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