Research looks into alternative to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy medication

The Pelé Pequeno Príncipe Research Institute stands out internationally in its search for treatment and cure of adrenal cortex tumors, having carried out 330,000 genetic exams to search for early diagnoses. Going above and beyond by looking into opportunities in therapeutic treatment plans, the Institute is considering possibilities for a new chemotherapy method.

In partnership with UNICAMP’s Chemical Engineering College, the Research Institute has developed, through research, a compound for the treatment of adrenal cortex tumors. The goal of this research is to diminish the side effects caused by mitotane, a chemotherapy medication used to treat this type of tumor, with the use of nanotechnology, a technique that creates materials in nanometric scale (1mm divided in 1 million parts).

Mitotane is administered orally and can cause varied negative reactions. The patients have reported irritations in their digestive tract, which causes diarrhea, vomiting and consequently weight loss and dehydration. This in turn compromises the absorption of the medication. The research developed a nanostructure that avoid the medication’s contact with the digestive tract until it reaches the intestine, where it is released. This way, it is possible to avoid the severe side effects. This technology also makes it possible to decrease the loss of the medication in the patient’s system. This could significantly reduce the prescribed dosage needed and therefore, diminish the patient’s exposure to the drug.

The research is still in its initial phase and will continue to be developed.

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