A researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine is looking for ways to reduce the side effects of cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
Dr. Lois Travis’ work at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center has earned her a five-year, $5.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.
The funding will help Travis to continue her evaluation of long-term health outcomes for patients who undergo platinum-based chemotherapies.
The school said the treatment may lead to hearing loss, ringing in the ears, numbness in hands and feet and other side effects.
“We have shown with audiometric examination that 80% of the patients had hearing loss with one in five classified as severe to profound, levels at which hearing aids are recommended,” said Travis.
She said 56% of patients had nerve damage called neuropathy and 40% had tinnitus or permanent ringing in their ears.
Despite the side-effects, platinum-based chemotherapy has shown to be very effective as treatment for testicular cancer, with 95% survival rate.
Travis and a team of other cancer research experts are collaborating on a project to follow 2,000 testicular cancer survivors to look at the long-term impacts of platinum-based chemotherapy.
“The goal is to follow this cohort for many decades to characterize the longitudinal trajectory of toxicities related to platinum-based chemotherapy,” said Travis. “For the first time, we will evaluate the impact and severity of the hearing loss and tinnitus on the patients’ physical, emotional and social functioning.”
Travis said the team of investigators wants to understand better which patients are at higher risk for these adverse outcomes and the daily effects of the toxicities.