Improving quality of life during and after chemotherapy: Targeting neuroinflammation to cure treatment symptoms

Start Year: 2015
Finish Year: 2019
Chief Investigator: Dr Adam Walker
Grant Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship
Institution: Monash University

Breast cancer and its treatment are associated with increased risk of infection, depression, fatigue and learning and memory problems, which often remain long after treatment is discontinued. While little is known about what causes these adverse effects of treatment, their severity can impact quality of life for cancer survivors and can affect the treatment plan for an individual, which directly affects survivorship. Brain inflammation has been linked to neurological deficits, however, its role in the adverse effects of breast cancer chemotherapy has not been investigated. To address this, we will investigate the role of inflammation in the brain in the side-effects of chemotherapy. Additionally, we will explore if infections later in life exacerbate or cause re-emergence of latent side-effects. By understanding how brain inflammation contributes to the debilitating cognitive and mood symptoms of cancer treatment, we can identify novel therapeutic targets to cure the symptoms of chemotherapy. This, in turn, will reduce the need for many patients to alter their treatment plan and improve long-term quality of life in breast cancer survivors.