Giving the drug sodium thiosulphate after chemotherapy reduces hearing loss in children treated for liver cancer, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine today (Wednesday).
Results from the Cancer Research UK funded SIOPEL-6 clinical trial show that giving sodium thiosulphate (STS), after a type of chemotherapy called cisplatin, reduces hearing loss by nearly 50% in children treated for hepatoblastoma*, a childhood liver cancer.
This is a major step forward in minimising the number of children left with debilitating and long-term side effects after being treated for cancer.
Dr Penelope Brock, trial lead and paediatric consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “We’re lucky to have such an effective treatment for this type of liver cancer. But like many cancer treatments, there can also be long term side effects. For children treated with cisplatin alone, a huge proportion are left with permanent hearing loss, which can be utterly debilitating. Even mild hearing loss can severely impact a child’s future development. Key consonants are heard at high frequencies like ‘s,’ ‘h,’ and ‘f’, and their loss can be particularly difficult for children who haven’t yet developed speech.
“This treatment combination could help ensure that parents aren’t faced with an upsetting scenario where
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