For some leukemia patients, the only potential chemotherapy option is a drug that also carries a high risk of heart failure. This means that some patients who recover from their cancer will end up dying of heart disease brought on by the cure.
In a new study, researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago and other universities have identified mechanisms that cause the drug, ponatinib, to harm the heart. They also identified a promising treatment that could reverse this process. The paper, with senior author Sang Ging Ong, a University of Illinois Cancer Center member in the Cancer Biology Research Program and assistant professor of pharmacology and medicine at UIC, is published in Circulation Research. The study is part of a growing field called cardio-oncology that investigates drugs that shrink tumors but can also cause heart problems.
The study authors also include Cancer Center member Sandra Pinho, PhD, part of the Cancer Biology Research Program and an assistant professor of pharmacology.