A common drug used to treat diabetes could have a major influence on brain injury caused by radiation treatment.
Researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine have found that a common diabetes drug in animal studies will help to prevent the memory and other cognitive problems that some cancer patients have experienced following radiation therapy.
Whole-brain radiation is often used as a treatment for recurring brain tumours, as well as a preventative treatment against some forms of cancer and melanoma. About a year after the treatment many people experience impairments to their usual cognitive function.
The diabetes drug, pioglitazone (more commonly known as Actos), could have a major influence on this side effect when taken before, during and after treatment. The senior researcher, Mike Robbins, reportedly said: “These findings offer the promise of improving the quality of life of these patients. The drug is already prescribed for diabetes and we know the doses that patients can safely take.”

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