Research update: how you’re helping research that could reduce the harmful effects of chemotherapy for cancer sufferers
It’s a sad fact that 1 in 2 Australian men and 1 in 3 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85*.
Most of these cancers are treated with chemotherapy, with side effects that can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening conditions and long term damage to a patient’s health, even after the person is cancer free.
Fortunately, this is where Mater Research Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler (pictured right) and her team come in. They are devoted to improving health outcomes for cancer patients and reducing the long term complications of chemotherapy.
Earlier this year we shared the news that Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler and her team made a ground-breaking discovery in identifying the molecular ‘switch’ the body uses to make bone marrow stem cells either ‘go to sleep’ (which means they are resistant to chemotherapy) or ‘wake up’ and regenerate the blood and immune systems.
Associate Professor Winkler and her team are also working on a ‘mucositis’ research project, that is providing potential avenues for better health outcomes for patients receiving chemotherapy.
Mucositis occurs when cancer therapy has damaged the mucosal membranes lining the mouth and intestine, which often leads to ulcers, pain, reduced ability to absorb nutrients and rapid weight loss following chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Almost all patients undergoing high dose chemotherapy or radiotherapy will experience some degree of mucositis.
This research project is aiming to achieve a faster return to health for cancer patients after their chemotherapy, with less treatment-related side-effects.
The work of brilliant Mater Researchers like Associate Professor Winkler could not happen without you. Every time you put on the Smiddy cycling kit or Tri-suit for an event, or donate to a Smiddy athlete, you’re helping get the one up on cancer.