JUN 27, 2018 5:21 AM PDT

Drug Reduces Hearing Loss in Children Treated for Hepatoblastoma

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Children treated for hepatobalstoma, a rare childhood liver cancer, often experience hearing loss when undergoing a type of chemotherapy known as cisplatin. However, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, when these children are administered the drug sodium thiolsulphate, their hearing loss is reduced by half. These clinical studies were from the SIOPEL-6 clinical trial funded by the Cancer Research UK.

The studies show that after cisplatin treatment, administering sodium thiosulphate (STS) decreases hearing loss by nearly 50% in children treated for hepatoblastoma. This new drug serves as a major step in advancing the cancer treatment process particularly aimed at reducing the debilitating side effects in affected children.

Clinical trial leader and pediatric consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Dr. Penelope Brock, says: "We're lucky to have such an effective treatment for this type of liver cancer. But like many cancer treatments, there can also be long term side effects. For children treated with cisplatin alone, a huge proportion are left with permanent hearing loss, which can be utterly debilitating. Even mild hearing loss can severely impact a child's future development. Key consonants are heard at high frequencies like 's,' 'h,' and 'f', and their loss can be particularly difficult for children who haven't yet developed speech. This treatment combination could help ensure that parents aren't faced with an upsetting scenario where successful cancer treatment comes at the cost of their child's hearing."

The clinical studies consisted of 109 children that had been treated for cisplatin alone or cisplatin followed by the STS drug. The results concluded that 63% of children given cisplatin independently underwent a degree of hearing loss. However, 33% of the children treated with cisplatin and then administered the STS drug 6 hours later, had the risk of developing a hearing loss 48% less than children without STS treatment.

Most importantly, there was no difference in overall survival or incidence of cancer returning which meant that treatment was equally effective if children were given STS.

Expert on childhood cancer at the University of Birmingham, Professor Pam Kearns, from Cancer Research UK, explains that, "No child should have to suffer a disability as a result of their cancer treatment. Hearing is precious and we're delighted to see that we can safeguard the future development of more children, without compromising the chance of curing their cancer."

Story Source: Cancer Research UK

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
JUL 20, 2022
Neuroscience
Stress Transmitter Wakes Up the Sleeping Brain Over 100 Times Per Night
JUL 20, 2022
Stress Transmitter Wakes Up the Sleeping Brain Over 100 Times Per Night
A study published in Nature Neuroscience reported that the stress hormone and transmitter noradrenaline wakes up the hum ...
JUL 22, 2022
Coronavirus
Researchers Say Nasal Boosters Will be Important to Stopping COVID
JUL 22, 2022
Researchers Say Nasal Boosters Will be Important to Stopping COVID
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has continued to evolve since the start of the pandemic, and we've moved down the list of variants ...
AUG 10, 2022
Neuroscience
Memory Flash Learning Method Improves Visual Perception of People with Autism
AUG 10, 2022
Memory Flash Learning Method Improves Visual Perception of People with Autism
Tel Aviv University researchers developed a new learning method for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that can ...
AUG 19, 2022
Neuroscience
Anterior Cingulate Cortex Plays a Key Role in Managing Additional Learning Tasks
AUG 19, 2022
Anterior Cingulate Cortex Plays a Key Role in Managing Additional Learning Tasks
A study published in Nature Communications reports that a key function of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is to help ...
SEP 04, 2022
Neuroscience
The Facts About Fentanyl & Its Impact on the Brain
SEP 04, 2022
The Facts About Fentanyl & Its Impact on the Brain
You've probably heard of fentanyl, an extremely powerful, synthetic opioid that is used as a sedative, and sometimes ...
SEP 25, 2022
Microbiology
Understanding Oral Microbe Evolution, Which May Aid in the Hunt for Antibiotics
SEP 25, 2022
Understanding Oral Microbe Evolution, Which May Aid in the Hunt for Antibiotics
New research has suggested that bacteria that live in the human mouth could work as model organisms that can help us fin ...
Loading Comments...