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Erthropoietin improves learning and memory impairment after whole brain irradiation:


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Website: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-03/aafc-eta032604.php

Posted on: 03/30/2004

Erthropoietin improves learning and memory impairment after whole brain irradiation:

Public release date: 30-Mar-2004
Contact: Aimee Frank
amf@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
American Association for Cancer Research
Abstract No. 3125


A drug that is normally used to fight anemia in cancer patients may also help brain tumor patients retain thinking, memory and concentration after radiation treatment, said Shun Wong, M.D., a researcher with Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Centre, Toronto.

Wong said that in animal studies, a single dose of erythropoietin (EPO) one hour after whole brain irradiation dramatically improved learning and memory function in mice.

"In our study, the animals that received radiation treatment alone showed considerable cognitive impairment," Wong said. "They acted confused and performed poorly on tests of memory. "

"On the other hand, mice that were first treated with radiation and then systemically injected with EPO maintained cognitive function that was no different than control mice, and substantially better than the irradiated mice that did not receive EPO," Wong said.

Mice treated with EPO after whole brain radiation successfully negotiated radial maze and hole-board tests as well as non-irradiated mice, Wong said. While EPO-treated irradiated mice demonstrated no behavioral or learning impairment, animals treated with EPO alone showed no boost or improvement in cognitive function.

Radiation treatment of brain tumors often leaves patients with late neurocognitive impairment. Patients complain of difficulty in concentration, memory and thinking. The application of EPO treatment in conjunction with radiation therapy to reduce brain tumor mass holds promise for human brain cancer patients to protect innate cognitive function during and after radiation treatment.

"We conclude that systemic treatment of EPO protects animals from learning and memory impairment after whole brain radiation," Wong said. Further studies are underway to determine the cellular and molecular changes in the brain due to EPO neuro protective treatment.




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