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Nerve Degeneration and Regeneration Associated with NF1 Tumors

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Annual rept. 15 May 2012-14 May 2013

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Infiltrating peripheral nerve sheath tumors PNST are associated with significant neurological deficits and nerve damage. An initial aim of this project is to determine how tumor progression leads to loss of nerve function. A second aim is to determine if nerve damage caused by PNST is reversible and the potential for nerve regeneration after PNST eradication. A third aim is to examine the effects of photodynamic therapy on normal nerve function. Additional aims will test photodynamic therapy as modality for eradication of PNST without incurring substantial collateral damage to functioning nerve. To date we have accomplished the first and second aims and have nearly completed the third. Outcomes for aims 1 and 2 were reported in a previous Annual Report. Our recent work showed that PDT, like most other tissue ablation techniques, has the potential to damage normal peripheral nerves. Therefore, damage to functioning axons is likely when PDT is used for the ablation of tumors growing within nerves, such as PNST. Normal nerves coursing in proximity to tumor targeted for PDT ablation may also be damaged. Importantly, we find that, unlike other cancer therapies, PDT causes an axonometric lesion without significant damage to the nerve sheaths. Consequently, axons will regrow naturally and excellent recovery of function can be expected. Knowing that PDT-induced collateral nerve damage is reversible will have a dramatic impact on therapy selection and on how aggressive the approach can be to achieve tumor free margins. Our next objectives will determine if axonal regeneration and recovery of function can occur after PDT is used to ablate PNST.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Radiobiology

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