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Hyman Muss, MD

Hyman Muss, MD, the Mary Jones Hudson Distinguished Professor of Geriatric Oncology in the Division of Oncology, recently received three research awards.

From the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Muss received $190,000 in funding for “p16INK4a Expression, Chemotherapy Toxicity, and Aging in Women with Breast Cancer.” There is significant variability in chemotherapy-related toxicity in women of similar age receiving adjuvant (or neoadjuvant) therapy for early breast cancer. Markers that predict toxicity will help in making treatment decisions.

Muss is also a sub-recipient PI for “Patterns of Aging and the Role of Biomarkers of Senescence,” with lead PI Denis Tsygankov, PhD, from the Georgia Institute of Technology. This will be a registry to identify changes in the expression of aging-related biomarkers, changes in functional performance, and/or changes in quality-of-life across the aging spectrum in 250  participants ≥25 years of age that will be conducted by the University of North Carolina. The primary purpose of the registry is to measure biomarkers of aging/senescence and build computational models of aging in order to better understand the role of senescence in aging-related functional decline and differences between aging in a general population vs cohorts enriched for aging‑related disease (cancer, heart disease).

In addition, Muss is a sub-recipient PI for “Measuring Cellular Senescence to Predict and Prevent Peripheral Neuropathy.” Chemotherapy toxicity is a growing clinical problem for cancer survivors due to efficacy gains with multi-drug therapy. One of the most debilitating toxicities is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a common and often highly painful condition that, in the short-term, leads to chemotherapy dose reductions or discontinuations that compromise efficacy and, in the long-term, impacts quality of life, due to a lack of effective treatments. The study will develop a multi-variate CIPN risk stratification score, CIPN-Sapere, which will provide guidance for chemotherapy selection in clinical practice. For the majority of patients who will be low-risk, oncologists can confidently pursue their standard-of-care treatment. Alternatively, for high-risk patients, oncologists may consider a less neurotoxic taxane or a different chemotherapy regimen with similar efficacy in order to prevent CIPN and thereby promote better adherence to life-saving chemotherapy.