• By Sara Tiner

Science Saturday: Time tempers anthracyclines into a toxin or treatment for cancer

April 16, 2022
a tank of zebrafish in a research lab

For the millions of people who could face a cancer diagnosis this year, it's vital to have all therapeutic options available.

But in some cases, the drugs used to treat cancer can cause other health problems during treatment or later. One example is a class of drugs called anthracyclines, which are derived from bacteria found in Italian soil decades ago. This group of about six chemotherapy drugs has been used since the 1960s to treat leukemia, lymphoma, sarcoma and breast cancer, as well as other cancers that have spread from their original site. But a serious side effect of anthracyclines is heart damage either during treatment — which means patients must stop using it — or weeks, months or even years later. This heart damage can decrease the quality and duration of a former cancer patient's life.

To find the best path for care, a team of clinician-researchers and discovery scientists report on a potential way to prevent or heal heart damage when anthracyclines are used to treat cancer. The paper is published in Circulation Research.

Read the rest of the article on the Discovery's Edge blog.

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