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391 Technology Way
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is dedicated to the discovery, development and clinical translation of regenerative medicine technologies. The institute has used biomaterials alone, cell therapies, and engineered tissues and organs for ... more
Associate Research Scientist, Department of Radiation Oncology
WFU School of Medicine
Wake Forest University
Pre-doctoral Fellow and Graduate Student
University of Connecticut
OpenSeminar | Research Ethics
Ann Peiffer 2. Select your professor
Mycancer Blogs | Uncategorized
Radiation treatment of organs with cancer is designed to give enough of a dose to be toxic to the cancer tumor with minimal impact to the surrounding tissue and avoid normal tissue death.
For treatment of organs like the lung, kidney or liver, doctors know exactly how much radiation to give before organ function is affected.
However, the same isn't true for brain tissue, so the researchers worked to develop a "toxicity map" of the brain to preserve function.
Peiffer said this is the first attempt to relate treatment dose to brain function, as opposed to brain tissue death.
While avoiding normal tissue death is important, it doesn't necessarily help prevent the cognitive and functional problems associated with cancer treatments.
"The issue is the toxicity to the brain and its function, which is cognition or how you think, and these functions are affected at a much lower dose of radiation than what causes tissue death," Peiffer said.
The toxicity map was created by taking advantage of data from larger clinical trials held at Wake Forest Baptist.
In one of those trials, 57 brain cancer survivors returned six months or more after their radiation treatment to determine whether Donepezil, a drug normally used to improve mental function for those with early Alzheimer 's disease, was effective at improving their cognition.
Participants completed cognitive testing upon enrollment, and their scores provided the performance data for the toxicity map.
The researchers then went back into the medical records to match participants to their individual radiation dose levels and MRIs taken prior to treatment, Peiffer said.
"By matching cognitive performance to these measurements, we determined which area of the brain and what dose influenced performance on the cognitive tasks,"
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