Cardiovascular Business: Chemotherapy could be damaging children’s heart cells, leading to problems later in life (Aune)

Undergoing chemotherapy can have a negative impact on the cells responsible for repairing heart damage, according to a new study published in PLOS One. This may explain why 20% of children treated with anthracyclines go on to experience heart failure later in life.

“We don’t fully understand why some children who are exposed to anthracycline therapy develop these problems with the heart three to four decades later,” senior author Gregory Aune, MD, PhD, of the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute at UT Health San Antonio, said in a prepared statement. “The cardiac fibroblast, which acts as a sort of caretaker cell in the heart and other tissues of the body, has not been well studied in relation to this problem. We believe the damage to these cells may contribute to effects seen in childhood cancer survivors when they become adults.”

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