Peripheral neuropathies are a group of diseases that affect the peripheral nerves, which connect our brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body and help us sense our surroundings, control our bodily functions and our muscles. Depending on the type of nerve that is affected, patients may experience numbness, tingling, painful sensations such as burning, weakness, poor balance or difficulty with their bodily functions. These symptoms usually start in the toes and then slowly move up the legs, because longest nerves tend to degenerate first. Many different diseases, including diabetes, alcoholism, infections and neurotoxic drugs such as some of the chemotherapy drugs, can cause peripheral neuropathy.
In our research, we wanted to prevent the neurotoxic side effects of cancer chemotherapy and prevent the development of painful peripheral neuropathy, which can affect up to 80% of patients undergoing chemotherapy with certain drugs. Our innovative drug screening approach resulted in identification of a compound called ethoxyquin, which is an old anti-oxidant, still in use in pet food to prevent spoilage. At lower doses this drug prevents nerve damage caused by a commonly used cancer drug paclitaxel. We are currently evaluating the safety of this drug and hope to raise funds to test it in patients.
Dr. Ahmet Hoke is the Director of the Neuromuscular Division, sees patients with peripheral neuropathy and is actively involved in research on causes of peripheral neuropathy and nerve regeneration. He is the principal investigator on a research registry established to identify new causes of peripheral neuropathy, which is funded by the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy.
Learn more about Dr. Hoke
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
The foundation works to educate the public and healthcare professionals, provide state-of-the-art treatment for patients with peripheral neuropathy, and will be the catalyst for advancing innovative therapeutic developments and accelerating a cure for painful neuropathies