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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Dr Erin Howden and Associate Professor Andre La Gerche

Project summary

In 2018, it was estimated that 437, 033 individuals were diagnosed with leukemia worldwide — a statistic only projected to increase with the growing and ageing population, and current obesity epidemic (Bray and Moller 2006). Whilst we have seen significant reductions in the age-standardised mortality rate in recent years, it is becoming increasingly clear that survivors of acute leukaemia have a markedly increased risk of cardiometabolic disease compared to age- and sex-matched controls (Smith, Cornelius et al. 2010). This elevated cardio-metabolic risk has been ascribed to anthracycline chemotherapy which is toxic to the heart and muscle, physical deconditioning and the direct effect of cancer.

These insults appear to be particularly detrimental to the heart, but also the vasculature, blood cells and skeletal muscle. Accordingly, patients undergoing chemotherapy have often been reported to have decreased physical function and aerobic capacity compared to aged matched controls (LaVoy, Fagundes et al. 2016). Therefore, measures are urgently required to ensure that those who survive acute leukemia can reduce their risk of developing T2D, CVD and other related co-morbidities. 

This project is suitable for a Masters, Honours or PhD student.

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