(PTI)Scientists claim to be developing a treatment for cancer cachexia, the debilitating weight loss and muscle wasting condition affecting patients with cancer.
Cancer cachexia has a major impact on quality of life for cancer patients. It can also inhibit the effectiveness of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There is currently no effective treatment.
Now, an international team, led by Deakin University, is working on a combination of two readily available therapies (an omega3 fatty acid and an anti-gout medication) it believes could delay the onset of cancer cachexia and also improve quality of life for cancer patients.
"Cancer cachexia is a serious, debilitating and often unrecognised health issue. Around half of all patients with cancer develop cachexia. "Cachexia commonly affects older patients, whose quality of life is dramatically reduced. They don't feel like eating and can't exercise because they are constantly tired and lethargic.
"Our hope is that the treatment we are working on will delay the onset of cachexia or slow down its progression.
This could buy time for other cancer therapies to have an effect," Paul Lewandowski, who led the team, said. The cause and development of cancer cachexia is not fully understood, although an imbalance of chemicals known as free radicals is thought to play a major role.
Restoring the balance of free radicals is the focus of the study which is expected to take three years to complete.