Trial Type: Breast Cancer
Trial Status: Completed

Nagi Kumar, PhD, RD
Moffitt Cancer Institute

For the cancer survivors who had chemotherapy and struggle with cognitive impairment (CI), also known as chemobrain, the quality of their lives is greatly diminished. This is a fairly common side effect and little is known about how to prevent it or reduce its effects. The possible causes include, but are not limited to, age, injury to blood vessels or nerves, anemia, inflammation, and genetic changes.

Because both the length and the quality of survival are important goals, researchers are searching for ways to minimize CI. Some of the CI therapies that are frequently used in the geriatric population like cognitive training, psychostimulant drugs and antioxidant therapies have not demonstrated effectiveness for chemobrain.

Dr. Kumar’s team believe a plant-based substance called COGNUTRIN may be a valuable tool in the fight against post-chemotherapy CI.   It contains potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to cross into the brain to regions important for learning and memory.

Forty breast cancer patients who exhibit CI one month after the conclusion of their chemotherapy treatments will be enrolled in a blind study. After three months of taking the COGNUTRIN or a placebo, they well be assessed for CI. If this pilot shows promising trends, it will inform the design of a larger study. [Awarded 2013]

Clinical Summary
This is an innovative strategy to address the patient cognitive problem. This is a real problem and one of the first attempts to deal with cognitive impairment syndrome. This is a non-invasive approach that can be applied very quickly. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer is cognitive impairment, commonly described as chemobrain. This occurs in approximately 30-75% of patients and may last from 6 months to 10 years. Interventions that demonstrated promise in the aging population have not been evaluated to ameliorate chemobrain in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. The current study tests the hypothesis is that supplementation with a combination of a standard formulation of antho- cyanins and n-3 fatty acids (COGNUTRIN) work synergistically to reduce oxidative stress loads of inflammatory cytokines that reduce cognitive functioning.

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