Orange County

UCF researchers working to minimize bone damage in breast cancer patients

ORLANDO, Fla. — For breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy, bone damage is a common and painful side effect.

New research by University of Central Florida faculty finds nanoparticles could help cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy reduce their risk of bone damage.


UCF professor of medicine, Melanie Coathup, said radiation makes bones brittle, and women are more susceptible.

“It becomes weaker, it becomes more fragile and more likely to fracture,” she said.

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“In breast cancer patients, for example, that can increase the likelihood of long-traumatic rib fractures.”

The researchers designed a cerium oxide nanoparticle and treated animals with it.

“When we gave … nanoparticles, the bone maintained its strength, it maintained its air, we didn’t get this loss of bone,” she said.

Watch: AdventHealth Women’s Health Minute: Breast cancer treatment

They discovered the treatment protected against the loss of white and red blood cells that usually occurs in cancer patients. Now, Coathup said they’re studying whether the nanoparticles could kill cancer cells.

She said they’re applying for more funding for further experiments. But so far, the results are promising.

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“I just hope it will reduce the bone fractures that may occur and may hinder their life, causing additional pain and that type of problem,” she said.

The researchers said they hope this breakthrough will help cancer survivors go back to living normal and healthy lives.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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