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Artificial Pain-Sensing Cells Aim to Aid Cancer Patients

Skin pain is a common side effect that significantly affects patients' quality of life, persisting for years after chemotherapy. Tore B. Stage, supported by a Sapere Aude grant, seeks to elucidate the mechanisms behind these side effects, including the involvement of pain-sensing cells.

By Marianne Lie Becker, , 11/30/2023

Peripheral neuropathy frequently arises as a common side effect of various forms of chemotherapy, presenting as skin pain, typically in the hands and feet. This condition results in a diminished quality of life both during and for several years following treatment.

- The pain has been described as the sensation of walking on pins and needles or having a lit lighter held against the skin. Currently, there is no specific treatment for this side effect other than reducing the chemotherapy dose, a measure that carries the risk of compromising the effectiveness of cancer treatment," explains Tore B. Stage, Research Leader and Professor in Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy, and Environmental Medicine at the Department of Public Health.

As more cancer patients overcome their illness, there is significant value, according to him, in the ability to treat or prevent this feared side effect.
Meet the researcher

Tore B. Stage is Research Director and Professor in Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy, and Environmental Medicine, and is affiliated with the Department of Regional Health Research at SDU.


If we can treat or prevent this side effect, we can significantly enhance the quality of life for cancer patients during and after treatment. It will help patients return to a normal life more quickly after treatment

Tore B. Stage, Research Director and Professor in Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Environmental Medicine.

Decoding the Molecular Puzzle of Chemotherapy-Related Skin Pain

The project, supported by the Danish Independent Research Fund through a Sapere Aude grant, aims to identify new molecular mechanisms underlying these painful skin side effects.

-We're utilizing pain-sensing cells derived from stem cells for this purpose. It's a method we already use in our laboratory and has proven to be an excellent model for investigating nerve damage resembling those seen in these side effects, Tore B. Stage explains.

Moreover, he and his colleagues in the research unit will employ a new method to measure the extent of nerve cell damage in the blood, a so-called damage marker, recently described by them.

Overall, the project aims to significantly enhance the understanding of peripheral neuropathy and build upon a substantial body of research from Tore B. Stage's laboratory in recent years. This knowledge can be instrumental in discovering new approaches to treating and preventing these side effects.

Project title

"Elucidating the elusive molecular mechanism of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy."

Do you want to know more?

Read more about the research from the Department of Regional Health Research.

Read more

Editing was completed: 30.11.2023