Cells in the brain

Chemotherapy induced nerve damage

Preventing nerve damage in people receiving chemotherapy

Our translational research group investigates the impact of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in Australia. We work to identify the best tools to measure CIPN and design interventions to treat and prevent this condition. 

About our research

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a major side effect of chemotherapy. It causes nerve damage including numbness, sensation and balance problems in 40% of cancer survivors. One in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. As such, the prevalence of CIPN is increasing, with more and more survivors left with long-term functional disability and reduced quality of life.

Our translational research program addresses substantial knowledge gaps in this largely underexplored area. In fact, we are the first research group in Australia working to understand, predict and ultimately prevent nerve damage in patients receiving chemotherapy. A large part of our work also focuses on developing more effective interventions for neuroprotection and designing better methods to measure CIPN.

To this end, our research is underpinned by a strong, multidisciplinary team with broad expertise in translational oncology, neuroscience, clinical neurology, genomics, neurophysiology and health service research.

Our research strategy

Our work encompasses basic science discovery, risk factor identification, prevention strategies, new treatments and impact measurement, and is divided into the following key areas:

  1. determining the functional and financial impact of CIPN
  2. developing a neurotoxicity risk profile based on clinical, neurophysiological and genetic factors
  3. using this knowledge to develop a clinical CIPN assessment package and implement guidelines for clinical practice
  4. identifying ways to protect nerves using an animal CIPN model
  5. establishing a CIPN clinical trials network to trial interventions for management and prevention
Our partners

Our translational research capacity is underpinned by our strong ties to hospitals and major oncology centres across Australia including:

  • Prince of Wales Hospital
  • University of New South Wales
  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
  • Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Mater Hospital
  • Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation, University of Technology, Sydney
  • University of Sydney
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital
  • Royal Hospital for Women
  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  • Flinders Medical Centre

Chemotherapy induced nerve damage research group

  • Brain and Mind Centre, 94 Mallet Street, Camperdown, NSW