Menu

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Aids in Clinical Trial Examining Effects of ‘Chemo Brain’ in Breast Cancer Patients

January 5, 2015

Serena Wong, MDNew Brunswick, N.J. – Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is referring breast cancer patients to a clinical trial examining the side effects of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy on the brain.

When receiving treatment for breast cancer, patients sometimes experience side effects that can make it harder for them to concentrate, remember things or do tasks requiring rapid or precise hand movements. Referred to as “chemo brain,” these changes can affect a patient’s quality of life. The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by the Kessler Foundation in cooperation with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, will look at the side effects of these medicines on breast cancer patients by looking at changes that occur inside the brain. Investigators also will look at how these changes affect hand movements.

Patients accepted into the study will come for two to three visits, four to six months apart during the course of the chemotherapy or hormonal treatment. At each visit, participants will have a brain imaging scan (MRI) and a test to assess the health of the brain and nervous system using a magnetic pulse. Individuals also will have brain activity and function measured while performing special tasks.

Serena Wong, MD, medical oncologist at the Cancer Institute and assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the referring physician for the study at the Cancer Institute, who also will be screening participants. “The brain typically recovers from these cognitive side effects over time, but subtle changes can sometimes persist for years. This study will enable investigators to better understand the relationship between cancer treatments and brain function. Our goal is to find ways to minimize or even prevent the effects of ‘chemo brain,’ thus helping to improve the patient’s quality of life,” she said.

Post-menopausal, right-handed women between 50 and 70 years old who have had or are scheduled to have surgery for breast cancer or are scheduled to receive or are currently receiving chemotherapy or hormone treatment are eligible to take part in the trial, although other criteria must also be met.  Healthy post-menopausal women with no evidence of breast cancer also are being sought for comparison.

For more information on how to take part in this trial, individuals should call the research team at 973-324-3541 or e-mail dallexandre@kesslerfoundation.org.   

Clinical trials and research studies underway at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey explore diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer, as well as management of cancer symptoms.  The Cancer Institute of New Jersey currently enrolls more than 1,200 patients in clinical trials each year, including approximately 17 percent of all new adult cancer patients and approximately 70 percent of all pediatric cancer patients. That compares with fewer than five percent of all adult cancer patients enrolled nationwide. 

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Institute offers patients access to treatment options not available at other institutions within the state. 

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (www.cinj.org) is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit www.cinj.org/giving. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCINJ.

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

 

Contact: 
Michele Fisher
Phone: 
732-235-9872

 

precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute

 

 

 

ScreenNJ

 

 

Donate Now

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Proud member of
Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium

 

 

Rutgers Health