The Department of Veterans Affairs has invented a novel therapy for patients undergoing chemotherapy. The VA is seeking a health care company to develop it into an available treatment.
Chemotherapy is often used to treat cancer patients but the negative side effects are severe. Patients treated with chemotherapy are at an increased risk of altered brain structure and function, cerebral hyporesponsiveness and cognitive impairment upwards of 10 years post-treatment.
Clinical studies indicate that up to 70 percent of cancer patients who received chemotherapy experience cognitive impairment, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. This impairment, commonly named chemobrain, can affect working memory, attention, processing speed, concentration, and executive functions. Currently, there is no therapeutic agent to diminish cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression after chemotherapy.
In response, VA researchers have developed a therapeutic for increasing neurogenesis in chemotherapy patients. This includes treating stress-induced neurogenesis deficits, increasing neurogenesis gene expression, and increasing neuronal cell formation. The treatment also addresses the neuropsychological side effects of chemotherapy, such as cognitive impairment and depressive-like behavior induced by chemotherapy.
The treatment uses cotinine, an alkaloid found in tobacco leaves as the main metabolite of nicotine. Cotinine has been studied as a treatment for depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
This approach shows promise for the first time in treating, inhibiting and preventing chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction, stress-related neurogenesis deficiency; chemotherapy-induced memory loss, depression and weight loss; and inducing neurogenesis gene expression. It is proposed that the treatment could be used prior to chemotherapy or prior to onset of chemotherapy-induced memory loss or depression.
- Approach carries the dual neurological effect in diminishing both depressive behavior and cognitive impairment with a low toxicity profile
- Businesses can develop the treatment into a product by licensing US patent application 20170296525 and international patent application WO2016070181 from the VA
- Businesses that license the technology may further collaborate with the VA inventors
- Animal test data is available
- TechLink navigates businesses through licensing at no charge