Designing and testing an at home system for monitoring nerve health

Disease - Chronic pain

Lead applicant - Professor Anthony Pickering

Organisation - University of Bristol

Type of grant - Special strategic award

Status of grant - Approved

Amount of the original award - £336,476.50

Start date - 01 Feb 2022

Reference - TBC

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

The aim of this research is to design and test a system used at home by people undergoing chemotherapy to detect potential nerve damage caused by chemotherapy as early as possible.

Why is this research important?

Chemotherapy is an effective way of treating cancer and inflammation, but can sometimes causes damage to people’s nerves, resulting in long-term pain. This risk can be reduced if you are able to detect nerve damage early and alter the dose of chemotherapy. The researchers are designing a system that allows people to check the health of their nerves at home, meaning they would be able to detect changes before they may even notice any symptoms. This would allow more personalised treatment that would increase the success of cancer treatment, and reduce the risk of nerve damage and long lasting pain.

How will these findings benefit patients?

Around a third of people receiving chemotherapy will end up with long lasting pain from chemotherapy-induced nerve damage. Reducing the dose of chemotherapy will decrease this risk, but may also mean that someone’s treatment may not be as effective, meaning people are reluctant to report the often vague early symptoms. If developed successfully, this system will allow people to detect any changes to their nerves early and also mean they are able to monitor this at home, without the need to come into hospital.