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Liedtke develops gel compounds to alleviate painful side effects of chemotherapy

Thursday, November 8, 2018
By Lindsay Key

Chemotherapy is a proven strategy for killing cancer cells, but treatment can affect the small sensory nerves in the feet and hands, causing tingling, pain, numbness, and hypersensitivity. Some patients experience sensitivity so extreme that they have difficulty wearing socks, shoes, long pants and long sleeves.

In the clinic, when chemotherapy patients tell Duke neurologist Wolfgang Liedtke, MD, PhD, about pain in their hands and feet, he prescribes an individualized assortment of anti-pain medicine for treatment which typically includes anti-seizure or mood stabilizing tablets, plus topical treatments (such as gels, ointments) containing numbing and anti-oxidant agents.  However, topical gels are often not strong enough, and tablets readily cause systemic side effects, adding to the “brain fog” of chemotherapy.

Liedtke has treated patients suffering from chronic “therapy-refractory” pain for many years now. By working closely with his patients, he understood the opportunity that the unmet medical need that chemotherapy-induced painful polyneuropathy (CIPN) represents.

Read the full story on the Duke School of Medicine news blog.