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UGA chemistry researchers develop new treatment for chemotherapy side effects

A prodrug is medication introducded into the body in an inactive (or less than fully active) form, that then becomes converted to its active form through the normal metabolic processes of the body, as a sort of precursor to the intended drug.

Researchers in the department of chemistry announced the development of a new aspirin-based prodrug that may prevent damage caused by chemotherapy:

[The new treament] promises to reduce many of the negative side effects caused by cisplatin, a commonly prescribed chemotherapy treatment.

Cisplatin may be used to treat a variety of cancers, but it is most commonly prescribed for cancer of the bladder, ovaries, cervix, testicles and lung. It is an effective drug, but it often causes severe and irreversible damage to a patient's kidneys, hearing and sense of balance.

UGA researchers combined cisplatin with aspirin in a new single prodrug formulation they call Platin-A, which prevents these negative side effects by reducing inflammation. They reported their findings recently in Angewandte Chemie, a journal published by the German Chemical Society.

"We know that inflammation plays a major role in the development of these side effects," said Rakesh Pathak, lead author of the paper and postdoctoral research associate in the UGA chemistry department. "By attaching aspirin to cisplatin, we can help control this response and reduce damage to the body."

Congratulations to Pathak and assistant professor Shanta Dhar, the principal investigator on the paper, but more importantly to the thousands of patients who suffer these side effects during their treatment regimes. Researchers work to improve human health in all kinds of ways and this work reminds of a very important one: combating the side effects of established treatments. 

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