Conventional chemotherapeutic agents for anticancer treatment typically target rapidly proliferating cells and do not discriminate between tumor cells and healthy cells.
One of the most common side effects of conventional chemotherapy is chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression, resulting in a reduction of red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes).
A reduced level of neutrophils (a type of leukocyte) is called neutropenia. It can leave a patient vulnerable to infection and to developing febrile neutropenia (FN), a condition that can be fatal and requires hospital admission.
Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN), the most serious hematologic toxicity, is associated with the risk of life-threatening infections as well as chemotherapy dose reductions and delays that may compromise treatment outcomes.
About 2.4 million chemotherapy cycles with a high to medium risk for CIN are given each year. The global market for therapies to prevent CINhas a volume of more than USD 5 billion.
A reduction of platelets caused by chemotherapy is called chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia (CIT). It is a serious condition that can increase the risk of bleeding and cause chemotherapy dose reductions and treatment delays. Therapeutic options for CIT are even more limited than for CIN, and CIT remains a significant clinical problem with a high unmet medical need.