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Dr Sarah Flatters

2014 pump priming award recipient

Dr Sarah Flatters, King’s College London

Bortezomib is a breakthrough treatment for the aggressive and incurable cancer, multiple myeloma, greatly improving survival in these patients. However, the use of bortezomib is significantly impaired by painful neuropathy, causing dose reduction or discontinuation of bortezomib, despite effective anti-cancer actions.

Painful neuropathy remains a dose-limiting side effect of bortezomib therapy because there are no treatments that can either prevent the development or reverse established bortezomib-induced painful neuropathy (BIPN). Therefore BIPN not only markedly affects quality of life in cancer patients, but can also impact patient survival.

There is a lack of translational rat models of BIPN that accurately mimic the clinical scenario in terms of route of administration/dosing cycles of bortezomib resulting in evoked and spontaneous pain sensations. Furthermore, knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of BIPN is limited. These two factors markedly impede the development of novel therapies for BIPN.

This research proposal will address both these factors by improving the face validity of a rat model of BIPN; thereby providing a clinically relevant means to further investigate causal mechanisms of BIPN.