Washington, Apr 23 (UNI) Chemotherapy drug which is said to enhance the life of a cancer patient ultimately takes toll on his healthy brain cells, claims researchers.
Chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) leads to a progressing collapse of populations of stem cells and their progeny in the central nervous system, Science Daily reported.
''This study is the first model of a delayed degeneration syndrome that involves a global disruption of the myelin-forming cells that are essential for normal neuronal function,'' Mark Noble, Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute and senior author of the study.
''Because of our growing knowledge of stem cells and their biology, we can now begin to understand and define the molecular mechanisms behind the cognitive difficulties that linger and worsen in a significant number of cancer patients,'' he added.
Cancer patients have long complained of neurological side effects such as short-term memory loss and, in extreme cases, seizures, vision loss, and even dementia.
Until very recently, these cognitive side effects were often dismissed as the byproduct of fatigue, depression, and anxiety related to cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Now a growing body of evidence has documented the scope of these conditions, collectively referred to as ''chemo brain.'' It is increasingly acknowledged by the scientific community that many chemotherapy agents may have a negative impact on brain function in a subset of cancer patients, the precise mechanisms that underlie this dysfunction have not been identified.
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