Scientist testing innovative new method to work out cancer patients' ideal dose of chemotherapy

August 4, 2014, University of Southampton
Scientist testing innovative new method to work out cancer patients’ ideal dose of chemotherapy
Study to work out cancer patients’ ideal dose of chemotherapy

A leading Southampton scientist is testing a new way of measuring body composition, which could help ensure that breast cancer patients receive the optimum dose of chemotherapy.

Almost 1,200 women are diagnosed with in Hampshire each year on average, and over 250 women sadly go on to die from the disease each year on average , many because they have become resistant to .

Currently, chemotherapy doses are calculated based upon a patient's weight and height, but this calculation may not be accurate in patients who are very obese or underweight. The effectiveness of chemotherapy, and what are experienced, may depend on the fat and muscle content of a person's body, so it is important that this is calculated correctly.

Existing methods to measure , are complex and time-consuming, therefore Dr Ellen Copson, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Southampton and an oncology consultant at the University Hospital Southampton, has been awarded a grant worth around £20,000 by research charity Breast Cancer Campaign, to test a new, simpler method of measuring body composition, called 'segmental bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy' (sBIS).

sBIS uses a machine resembling a weighing scale which estimates body fat using tiny electrical currents that pass through the person's body. Dr Copson is recruiting over 35 people with breast cancer who are about to receive chemotherapy for their treatment, to collect information on ease of use, as well as how accurate this method is compared to existing methods of measuring body composition.

The pilot project will allow Dr Copson to gather data for a larger project to find out how body composition may influence how effective a patient's chemotherapy is, as well as what side effects they experience. Common side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, nausea and hair loss, but side effects depend on a range of factors, such as what type of chemotherapy a patient is receiving.

Katherine Woods, Research Communications Manager at Breast Cancer Campaign, says: "This research will help doctors in the future decide the most appropriate dose of chemotherapy for individual patients, improving their chances of survival, but also minimising side effects. Dr Copson's research could bring us one step closer to our goal that by 2025 improved and more personalised treatments for breast cancer will reduce mortality from breast cancer by half."

Explore further: Receiving chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis may affect a patient's employment

Related Stories

Receiving chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis may affect a patient's employment

April 28, 2014
A new study has found that loss of paid employment after a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer may be common and potentially related to the type of treatment patients received. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed ...

New drug treatment helps prevent early menopause in breast cancer patients

May 30, 2014
Among young women treated for breast cancer, one of the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy is early menopause. But a major clinical trial has found that the risk of early menopause can be significantly reduced ...

Research team identifies mechanism of chemotherapy resistance in inflammatory breast cancer

July 8, 2014
Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have identified a mechanism of breast cancer cells that leads to chemotherapy resistance in inflammatory breast cancer. These preclinical findings, published online ahead ...

Breast cancer patients place huge emphasis on gene expression profiling test

April 28, 2014
Gene expression profiling tests play a critical role when women with early-stage breast cancer decide whether to have chemotherapy, but many of them do not fully understand what some of the test results mean, new research ...

Metal implants may cut chemotherapy side effects, study suggests

February 13, 2014
Cancer patients could one day experience fewer side effects from chemotherapy following a discovery that opens the door for more targeted treatments.

Natural plant compounds may assist chemotherapy

March 27, 2014
Researchers at Plant & Food Research have identified plant compounds present in carrots and parsley that may one day support more effective delivery of chemotherapy treatments.

Recommended for you

Scientists block the siren call of two aggressive cancers

January 23, 2018
Aggressive cancers like glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancer have in common a siren call that beckons the bone marrow to send along whatever the tumors need to survive and thrive.

Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant

January 23, 2018
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases. The work sheds light ...

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

Workouts may boost life span after breast cancer

January 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Longer survival after breast cancer may be as simple as staying fit, new research shows.

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.