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Lankenau Institute for Medical Research And Lankenau Medical Center Researchers Develop Predictive Test For Nausea After Chemotherapy

11/17/2016 8:50:41 AM

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(Wynnewood, PA, November 16, 2016) – A new blood test developed by researchers at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) and Lankenau Medical Center, both part of Main Line Health, was found to reliably and objectively predict the cancer patients who were likely to experience nausea after chemotherapy.

Nausea and vomiting in the days after chemotherapy is a much-feared side effect of treatment, yet not all patients experience such effects equally. For some, nausea is almost non-existent, while for others it is debilitating. Being able to predict which patients are more likely to suffer has been a challenge for health care providers interested in sparing their cancer patients undue distress and discomfort.

“This new blood-based test can help alert physicians to those particular oncology patients for whom we must prescribe more potent antiemetic drugs,” said Paul B. Gilman, MD, interim director of clinical research at LIMR and one of the study’s researchers. “If used in wide clinical practice, patients could be tested prior to starting therapy, thus allowing caregivers to devise an optimal and personalized nausea-prevention regimen.”

While it was a small study of just 64 colon and lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy at Lankenau Medical Center, the results demonstrated that the test could correctly classify almost 90 percent of patients with nausea sensitivity. “This is, to our knowledge, the first report demonstrating an unbiased method to predict delayed nausea in patients receiving chemotherapy,” the authors wrote.

“Antiemetic drugs, which are usually given to chemotherapy patients, have their own side effects, including insomnia, constipation and headaches,” noted U. Margaretha Wallon, PhD, assistant professor at LIMR and the lead author of the study. “Patients whom we have determined from the blood test are at a lower risk of delayed nausea may be able to skip antiemetics or take a lower dosage, sparing them the ill effects of the anti-nausea drugs and reducing healthcare costs.”

The results of the study, which was funded by the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, were published online in October in the manuscript “Preliminary evaluation of a predictive blood assay to identify patients at high risk of chemotherapy-induced nausea” by the journal Support Care Cancer. The researchers are currently seeking funding to expand the study to a larger cohort of patients. Other LIMR and LMC authors of the study include Thomas Kutner; Emily Kunkel; Yue Wang, MD; Kyle George; Erik Zeger, MD; Zonera Ali, MD; and George Prendergast, PhD.

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985, Main Line Health (MLH) is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. At its core are four of the region’s respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s premier facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital; Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; and Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, a home health service. Main Line Health also consists of Main Line HealthCare, one of the region’s largest multi-specialty physician networks, and the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a non-profit biomedical research organization located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center. Main Line Health is also comprised of four outpatient health centers located in Broomall, Collegeville, Exton and Newtown Square.

Main Line Health Hospitals, with more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians, are the recipients of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence, and being named among the nation’s best employers by Forbes magazine. Main Line Health is among the area’s leaders in medicine, providing advanced patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy. To learn more, visit

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR)

LIMR is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new approaches to formidable medical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR’s principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and translational research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians. For more information, visit

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