KWF grant to study interventions that counteract the negative long-term effects of chemotherapy News
Marco Demaria from the Eriba Institute has received a grant of €776,028 from KWF. A total of 21 research projects studying fundamental mechanisms associated to tumorigenesis have been honored by KWF.

In his research, Demaria focuses on interventions that counteract the negative long-term effects of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is an effective therapeutic option for various types of cancers, but it can also cause collateral damage to normal cells and tissues. Damage to normal cells is often leading to side effects – a phenomenon defined chemotoxicity – and to accelerated ageing phenotypes in patients. Among most common and effective chemotherapy is a class of compounds called anthracyclines, a highly effective chemotherapy. As for the other chemotherapeutic agents, treatment with anthracyclines promote various short- and long-term adverse reactions via relatively unknown mechanisms. In recent years, work from the laboratory of Dr Demaria and others have shown that anthracyclines accelerate the accumulation of senescent cells – cells that lose the ability to proliferate and acquire pro-inflammatory detrimental functions.

Now, the main goal of Marco's research is to identify and validate pharmacological anti-senescence interventions that counteract the acceleration of ageing due to anthracyclines treatment.

In his research, Marco and his lab will analyze senescence mechanisms in biopsies from anthracycline-treated cancer patients and mice. They plan to use these analyses to determine which types of compounds will be most effective in selectively eliminating senescent cells, and test these new therapeutic option in preclinical models. According to Demaria, this study will provide more knowledge about the efficacy of anti-senescence compounds leading to the reduction of negative long-term effects of anthracyclines. In addition, the study will clarify the nature and location of senescent cells and potentially provide new biomarkers for identifying them. Dr Demaria aims to provide leads for the use of a new, more potent and less harmful interventions for cancer patients.

More information about the KWF's awards (Dutch only)

More about Marco Demaria

In early 2022, Marco Demaria won the UMCG Innovation Award for Research. He received this prize for his research into the contribution of cellular aging to acquired hearing loss. In the attached video he explains this research: UMCG innoveert: de bijdrage van cellulaire veroudering aan gehoorverlies