Cachexia, the loss of body mass that cannot be reversed nutritionally, is a positive risk factor for death that is frequently seen in patients with cancer, AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, congestive heart failure and other conditions. Cachexia is difficult to treat and the response to standard treatment is poor.
Cachexia involves a loss of muscle or fat (≥5% of initial body weight) resulting from an excess of inflammatory cytokines and other potential mediators. Cachexia in response to cancer is known as cancer cachexia, and is a common condition affecting 50-75% of all cancer patients, with that number rising up to 86% in the last 1-2 weeks of life for terminal cases. Cachexia is negatively related to survival and is listed as the cause of death in 20% of all cancer deaths. Despite the high mortality rate associated with cachexia, there are no effective existing treatments designed to treat cachexia. Currently, physicians try to moderate cachexia through appetite- and metabolism-stimulating steroids and drugs in order to improve food and nutrition intake, but there is no single therapeutic solution and combined therapeutics have found limited success.
Our CAR peptide addresses an important need in cachexia treatment through providing a therapy that may ameliorate bodyweight loss for those patients at risk for cachexia. Preclinical studies have shown that the use of CAR as an adjuvant to existing treatments in diseases that are complicated by cachexia results in increased bodyweight and improved survival.
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