Developing novel therapeutic approaches for treatment of vincristine-induced neuropathy

Professor Brandon Wainwright

Professor Brandon Wainwright
(The University of Queensland – Institute for Molecular Bioscience)

Medulloblastoma is the most common type of cancerous brain tumour in children, and notoriously difficult to treat.

One of the best treatment options available is chemotherapy drug called Vincristine. But up to six out of ten medulloblastoma patients treated with Vincristine experience Vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy (VIPN), a condition which causes severe, uncontrollable nerve pain.

Reducing the dose of Vincristine or ceasing treatment with this drug will reduce the patient’s nerve pain. But to do so also drastically decreases the efficacy of the treatment regime, and lowers the survival rate for children with medulloblastoma

The research

In this project, led by Professor Wainwright, experts in brain cancer will seek to understand the molecular basis of VIPN in patients with medulloblastoma, and monitor how this cancer responds to Vincristine, and two other anti-inflammatory agents that may prevent the development of VIPN.

The potential outcomes

It is hoped the anti-inflammatory will prevent the development of VIPN. This research will be conducted in preclinical models, ahead of a potential international clinical trial led by Dr Tim Hassall. The ultimate outcome would be to give children with medulloblastoma their best chance of survival, without painful and toxic side effects.

The research team

Prof Brandon Wainwright 

University of Queensland – IMB, CBCC Program Director, Lead Scientist Investigator

Dr Timothy Hassall 

Queensland Children’s Hospital, University of Queensland, CBCC Program Director, Lead Clinical Investigator

Dr Irina Vetter 

Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Group Leader, Expertise on the assessment of pain and neuropathy in pre-clinical models