Cancer drug damages mouse hearts by slaying helpful cells

Explanation for side effect in people could provide way to avoid it

By Meghan Rosen, 14:49 PM May 29, 2013

Heart damage from chemotherapy may be due to leaky pipes. Sunitinib, a cancer drug known to harm heart tissue, wipes out cells that seal blood vessels, Vishnu Chintalgattu of the biotech company Amgen and colleagues report May 29 in Science Translational Medicine.

These cells, called pericytes, normally wind around tiny blood vessels, or microvessels, keeping them healthy and plugging leaks like rubber patches glued to bicycle inner tubes.

Researchers examined tissue from drug-treated and ...

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