Commonly used drugs that are used in treatment of cancer, are likely to harm normal brain tissue.This was determined by a research, published by the Journal of Biology.
The study observed that chemotherapy can result in brain damage. The effects may be long lasting. This study gives a clue to the phenomenon termed 'chemobrain'.Chemobrain refers to the side effects that are seen in lots of cancer patients. Cancer survivors, even after months have elapsed following treatment, complain of memory loss, and problems related to comprehension, concentration and certain other mental aptitudes.
The research was led by Mark Noble, a professor of Neurobiology, from the University of Rochester, New York. He studied healthy brain cells after giving the volunteers from different populations, clinically safe doses of chemotherapy drugs. The effect of three drugs cisplatin, carmustine and cytarabine which are common chemotherapy drugs used to treat several types of carcinomas, like leukemia, brain tumors, lung cancer and colon cancer were studied.
They researchers found that these three drugs are definitely more toxic to healthy brain cells than to cancerous cells. The same drug that helps to wipe out 40%-80% of cancer cells also mutilates 70% or more normal healthy brain cells. Studies conducted on mice showed that even after six weeks, brain cell continue to die.
Researchers have postulated that the death of healthy brain tissues occur even at very low exposure levels. And this in turn affects the cells that are part of the brain concerned with learning and memory. These drugs also seem to adversely affect nerve cells concerned with transmission of signals causing neurological abnormalities as well, in cancer survivors.