Cellular mechanisms underlying cancer treatment-related cognitive impairment
Cancer patients may experience cognitive problems including memory lapses, problems concentrating, learning, multi-tasking or remembering details or common words. In a subgroup of patients these problems remain long-term. The incidence of cognitive problems after chemotherapy are most well-known, but these problems may also occur following hormonal therapy or immunotherapy. Studies suggest that cancer treatment contributes to the onset of aging-related conditions, including cognitive decline. The underlying mechanisms of this decline at the cellular level is still largely unknown. We hypothesize that cellular senescence plays a role in the onset of cognitive problems following chemotherapy. Cellular senescence is a state of cell cycle arrest that is accompanied by secretion of inflammatory cytokines, immune modulators, growth factors and proteases.
In this study we aim to determine the cellular mechanisms underlying the therapy-induced cognitive problems and work towards the identification of drugs that can attenuate these effects to improve cognition.