Dr David Grieve Already known to be significantly involved in obstructive sleep apnea, the enzyme NADPH oxidase presumably triggers heart damage associated with chemotherapy. With a highly imaginative approach, experts from the Queen’s Centre for Vision and Vascular Science assert that blocking the action of the enzyme can be used to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and decline the toxic effects of cancer treatment on the heart. The research findings may help reduce heart failure in cancer patients and ultimately improve survival rates.

Understanding the role of this enzyme can supposedly help in offering safer high doses of chemotherapy drugs and making the treatment more effective against tumors. In spite of improved treatments, cancer is possibly responsible for 25 percent of all mortality in the western world. Decreasing the threat for heart failure is apparently linked with chemotherapy and patient survival rates.

“While chemotherapy drugs are highly effective in treating a wide range of tumors, they can also cause irreversible damage to the heart. This means that doctors are restricted in the doses they can administer to patients. In recent years, scientists have been searching for new drugs to prevent these side-effects,” remarked Dr David Grieve, jointly leading on the research at Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

Investigators believe that the findings can aid in designing drugs that halt the action of the enzyme to considerably decrease heart damage among cancer patients. Further investigations are being carried out to ascertain the precise role of NADPH oxidase in heart failure that is correlated with cancer therapies. It is anticipated that the development of a drug interfering with the enzyme can save lives among cancer patients.

The research was published in the journal Cancer Research.