Chemotherapy is often associated with severe neurological side effects. The multicenter study PREPARE led by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin now aims to find out whether preventive lithium administration during chemotherapy can alleviate or even entirely prevent neurological complications in breast cancer patients. The SPARK-BIH program of Charité BIH Innovation (CBI), the joint technology transfer office of Charité and the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH), provided extensive support in the preparatory phase of the study and helped secure funding from the BMBF.
Coming off the success of the laboratory studies, the scientists led by Prof. Matthias Endres were then able to plan the PREPARE study and launch it in April of this year. “Thanks to the extensive funding provided by the SPARK-BIH program, we were able to conduct basic preliminary studies and show in the animal model that the administration of lithium carbonate can prevent neurological side effects from occurring during chemotherapy without affecting the efficacy of paclitaxel,” explains Endres. “The results were so promising that we can now enter the first clinical phase of our research. We believe lithium carbonate has great potential to change the medical practice of using chemotherapy with paclitaxel in breast cancer – and possibly in other cancers too – in the long term.”
For more information have a look at the BIH press release.