Research co-authored by a Sanford Health physician and published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds a drug that blocks neurotransmitters that could reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Cancer researcher Steven Powell, M.D., was among a team of researchers who discovered that the drug olanzapine, approved for use as an antipsychotic agent, improved nausea prevention significantly in patients who were receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment. The neurotransmitters involved with nausea and vomiting is blocked by this drug.
Nausea and vomiting is a major problem that goes along with chemotherapy and definitely affects the quality of life for these patients. These findings will provide physicians with a tool to understand the needs of those they are treating for cancer better.
It was shown that after the first day after treatment, 74% of study participants experienced no nausea or vomiting when their chemotherapy was paired with olanzapine. They used a placebo instead of the olanzapine and that figure dropped to 45%. After chemotherapy, this benefit lasted for five days for many of the patients.
This particular study appears in full in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Cancer Institute funded this study.
Dr. Powell is a Sanford Cancer Center oncologist who designs and oversees clinical research studies involving immunotherapy and precision medicine for cancer care and served as the community co-chair of the study which was provided as part of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. (NCORP)
NCORP is a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions and other organizations that conduct cancer clinical trials and study within community based health care systems.
NCORP, along with Sanford’s involvement, allowed for this research and a growing number of clinical trials in upper Midwest.
With the effects of chemotherapy, this discovery could make a tremendous difference to those suffering from cancer. I would also like to encourage you to research all the alternative natural ways to help nausea.
–Dr Fredda Branyon