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Testing Novel Treatment Strategies for Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Grant Winners

  • Appu Rathinavelu, Ph.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Alicia Fernandez-Fernandez, Ph.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Paramjot Kaur, M.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • M. Samuel Cheng, P.T., M.S., Sc.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Thanigaivelan Kanagasabai, Ph.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Ali Alaseem, B.S. – College of Pharmacy
  • Khalid Alhazzani, B.S. – College of Pharmacy
  • Saomya Kaul – Halmos College of Oceanography and Natural Sciences
  • Nichole Mathew – Halmos College of Oceanography and Natural Sciences


  • Lisa Deziel, Pharm.D., Ph.D., BCPS, FASHP – College of Pharmacy
  • Stanley Wilson, P.T., Ed.D., CEAS – College of Health Care Sciences


Award Winners Peripheral neuropathy (PN) affects 40% of all patients who receive chemotherapy for any reason that can lead to discontinuation of drug treatment. Interestingly, PN is one of the most common chemotherapy-induced side effects in MM patients that may occur because of the disease itself or due to drug treatment. The pathogenesis of PN is not adequately known and needs further investigation since there is a lack of efficacious preventive options. Hence, it is imperative that we investigate and identify intervention points for treatment as well as for prevention of PN. Almost all MM patients who are receiving chemotherapy eventually progress to relapsed/refractory myeloma. Progression of the disease may occur earlier for some patients due to dose limitation and/or discontinuation of treatment owing to severity of the side effects. Thus, chemotherapy induced PN (CIPN) can be severe and debilitating, eventually impacting quality of life in cancer patients. When CIPN gets very severe, adjustments to therapy are necessitated. These adjustments may include dosage reductions, suspensions or even discontinuation of the medication responsible for the adverse effects increasing the likelihood of earlier disease progression. Anti-myeloma drugs such as bortezomib (BTZ) and thalidomide, despite being expedient targeted therapeutics, are typically implicated as primary causes of PN in MM patients. Among various remedies used for minimizing the sufferings of PN, Low Light Laser Therapy (LLLT) has a great potential to be utilized for improving PN outcomes, the quality of life and compliance during chemotherapy. In essence, there is a dearth of adequate studies to validate the benefits of potential complementary therapies. Therefore, this study is designed to examine the therapeutic efficacy of LLLT in addition to certain neuroprotective (NP) therapies including treatments with black currant seed oil/gamma linolenic acid (GLA), vitamin B12, and formula X (FX), in BTZ-induced peripheral neuropathy (BIPN) animal model. In addition, our study will investigate the intracellular mechanisms related to BTZ treatment and the usefulness of the aforementioned neuroprotectants using the PC12 cells under the in vitro conditions. A prominent benefit of this project would be identifying prophylactic and/or acute treatment strategies that would help to alleviate sufferings and produce improvement in the quality of life of MM patients who develop the debilitating PN, thereby negating the need for medication adjustments allowing the patient to receive the full benefit of the medication.
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