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Key DiscoveryUsing stem cells to understand chemotherapy-induced toxicity

Apr 4, 2022

Many patients with breast and other types of cancer are treated with a chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin, but this drug has many side effects, including heart failure. This “doxocubicin-induced cardiotoxicity”, or DIC, can affect up to a quarter of all patients who are¬†treated with doxocubicin, but it is not clear why it affects some patients but not others.

Dr. Liam Brunham and his group previously discovered that patients with a mutation in the RARG gene are more susceptible to DIC. To better understand how RARG is involved in DIC, they used a patient-derived stem cell model and discovered that this RARG mutation leads to defects in DNA repair after exposure to doxorubucin.

This discovery could help physicians identify which patients are at risk of DIC to provide alternate treatment strategies, or improve monitoring and screening protocols to prevent patients from developing life-threatening heart damage after cancer treatment.

Read the full paper published in Stem Cell Reports.