The MDI Biological Laboratory has received a grant of $456,500 over two years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for the study of peripheral neuropathy.
The grant will support research conducted by assistant professor Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, a disabling condition causing pain, numbness, tingling and temperature sensitivity in the distal extremities. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of chemotherapy patients suffer from this condition, for which no treatments currently exist.
Rieger studies peripheral neuropathy in patients receiving paclitaxel, a common chemotherapy agent. She believes the mechanisms leading to paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy may also underlie other types of sensory neuropathies, such as those caused by diabetes or treatment with antibiotics. Her lab has identified two drug candidates with the potential to prevent or reverse the effects of sensory nerve degeneration in zebrafish. The funding will be used in part to assess the efficacy of the drug candidates in mammalian models.