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Veselina Petrova, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, 2022 Harvard University

Searching for New Treatments for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy


Cancer patients worldwide rely daily on chemotherapy as a curative treatment. However, many patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a condition marked by numbness, burning sensations, and chronic pain. CIPN arises from the toxicity of anticancer agents to peripheral nerves. In a subset of patients, the onset of severe symptoms results in premature termination of their anticancer treatment, worsening their outcomes. My research seeks to discover new compounds or repurpose existing therapeutics for the treatment of CIPN without compromising chemotherapy’s effect on cancer. To do this, I have developed a human-derived nerve cell model, which I will use as a platform to screen hundreds of new or FDA-approved compounds for their neuroprotective properties against chemotherapy. In parallel, our team will assess the effects of the most promising compounds in cancer cells. Our research could impact the quality of life for patients currently undergoing chemotherapy and those living with the long-term consequences of chemotherapy.

Winning this award is a proud moment in my career that I’ve been working toward tirelessly and passionately for the past decade. I am filled with hope that this new endeavour will allow me to help improve the quality of life of many cancer patients around the world.

Veselina Petrova

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