The effect of peripheral cellular senescence on chemotherapy-induced cognitive decline
Breast cancer patients are generally treated with chemotherapy and cured by the treatment, resulting in many breast cancer survivors. An unresolved, debilitating long-term side-effect of chemotherapy is cognitive decline. Chemotherapy induces cellular senescence, and elimination of senescent cells might ameliorate the so called ‘chemo-brain’.
One of the chemotherapeutics that induces cognitive deficits in patients and premature senescence by DNA damage is doxorubicin. Even though doxorubicin does not pass the blood brain barrier, mice treated with doxorubicin display cognitive decline. This raises the possibility that peripheral cellular senescence is a key player in the induction of chemo-brain in breast cancer survivors.
During this three-year PhD project funded by the GSMS PhD scholarship program, the effect of chemotherapy-induced peripheral senescence on the CNS will be elucidated and the possibility that specifically kill senescent cells after chemotherapy might prevent, delay or attenuate pathologies associated to the chemo-brain will be tested.