About Cachexia

What is cachexia?

Cachexia Illustration FINAL 

Cachexia is the progressive deterioration of skeletal muscle and fat tissue. Cachexia is caused by cancer and is involuntary; it is not caused by dieting or exercise. The main effects on cancer patients are physical deterioration, weakness, mental fatigue, decreased quality of life and pronounced weight loss.

Whom does cachexia affect?

Cachexia People copy
 

Over 50 percent of patients with cancer have progressive weight loss. In advanced cancers, cachexia is seen in about 80 percent of cases. Cachexia is estimated to be responsible for about 20-40 percent of all cancer deaths. Cachexia is also seen in a number of other diseases, including congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease and AIDS.

How does cachexia work?

Cachexia Illustration 

Cancer cachexia develops when molecules are released from tumor cells, causing the loss of appetite (anorexia) and decreasing nutrient intake. Lack of nutrients then causes the body to use up its energy reserves in fat cells and skeletal muscle. The depleted energy stores are used by cancer cells as fuel sources to grow and survive.

Ohio State Cachexia Research

Ohio State’s Cancer Cachexia Program benefits from faculty membership that covers several clinical and laboratory research perspectives in cachexia, a progressive deterioration of skeletal muscle and fat tissue that often afflicts patients with cancer and other diseases.

This faculty integration, which is enhanced by facilities and resources at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), promotes interactions across typically isolated research areas, accelerating research activities. From efficient use of patient tumor samples to development of animal models that better mimic human disease, our team of surgeons, oncologists, biologists, physiologists and pharmacologists works together to impact patient lives.

Examples of our research include:

  • OSUCCC – James pharmacologists, immunologists and molecular biologists studying how an Ohio State-produced drug, AR-42, helps preserve muscle and fat tissue through metabolic changes in mice with colon and lung cancer.
  • Human nutrition researchers studying the role of lipid (fat) metabolism in the liver, muscles and fatty tissue during the early stages of cachexia to understand more about preventing the loss of fat and skeletal muscle.
  • OSUCCC – James geneticists and biochemists examining the role of microRNAs (small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression) that are secreted by tumor cells in promoting cell death in skeletal muscle stem cells. 
  • Overall, some members of our research team are looking into novel therapies to slow or stop cachexia progression. Others are focusing on how to rebuild lost tissues and strengthen the heart and diaphragm. Still others are studying the nature of cachexia through cellular metabolism and signaling.

Program Activities

The primary activity for the Ohio State Cancer Cachexia Program is a monthly seminar series that enables researchers to interact, present their scientific projects and receive feedback from the group. Ohio State faculty and visiting faculty can discuss new approaches or collaborations, while trainees are exposed to a broad range of research avenues in cachexia. This series also enables trainees to discuss their projects with visiting cachexia experts.

The 2015-2016 seminar schedule is located to the right. View past (2013-2015) seminars.

Events

The Ohio State Cancer Cachexia Program co-organizes international conferences that bring together international cachexia experts to discuss the latest findings from laboratory research and clinical trials.

2012 Cachexia Logo

The first conference (Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches), held in Boston in 2012, was co-sponsored by The Ohio State University and the Society for Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders (SWCD).

2014 Cachexia Logo

The second conference (Evolving Mechanisms and Therapies), held in Montreal in 2014, was co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute branch of the National Institutes of Health with The Ohio State University, Indiana University and McGill University.

2016 Cachexia Logo 

The third conference (Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches) will be held Sept. 23-25, 2016, in Washington, D.C. The goals of this meeting are to: 1) promote new approaches to identifying the causes of cancer cachexia; and 2) increase awareness on clinical trial design and outcome measures. Please visit the conference website to learn how you can get involved.

Research Team

The Ohio State Cancer Cachexia Program research team is a multidisciplinary team that consists of Ohio State faculty from various colleges across the campus, research staff and research fellows. Learn more about each team member below.

Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics 


Denis_Guttridge_ImageDenis Guttridge, PhD

Gustavo_Leone_ImageGustavo Leone, PhD



Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry


Thomas_Ludwig_ImageThomas Ludwig, PhD

Michael_Ostrowski_ImageMichael Ostrowski, PhD



Department of Human Sciences


Martha_Belury_ImageMartha Belury, PhD



Department of Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy


ChingShih_Chen_ImageChing-Shih Chen, PhD



Department of Surgery


Mary DillhoffMary Dillhoff, MD

Carl_Schmidt_ImageCarl Schmidt, MD

David EvansDavid Evans, M.D.




Department of Internal Medicine


Tony Bekaii SaabTanios Bekaii-Saab, MD

Gregory_Lesinski_ImageGregory Lesinski, PhD



Physiology and Cell Biology


Noah WeislederNoah Weisleder, PhD

Loren WoldLoren E. Wold PhD, FAHA, FAPS



Department of Gastroenterology


Philip HartPhilip Hart, MD



College of Dentistry


Peter ReiserPeter J. Reiser, MS, PhD



Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center Target Validation Shared Resource


Reena Shakya, PhD

Contact Us


Dr. Denis Guttridge

Program Director

Email Dr. Guttridge


Kedar Hiremath

Program Coordinator

Phone: 614-688-7804

Email Kedar

2016 Cachexia Conference:
September 23-25, 2016

Register Now

2015-2016 Presentation Schedule


September 18

Noah Weisleder, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 134


October 30

Teresa Zimmers, PhD (Indiana University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130


November 20

Ching-Shih Chen, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130


December 18

Kristin Stanford, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130


January 29

Greg Lesinski, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130


February 26

Martha Belury, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130


April 29

Christopher Adams, MD (University of Iowa)
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Center Room L035


May 27

Denis Guttridge, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130


June 3

Daniel Marks, MD, PhD (Oregon Health & Science University)
James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Center Room L035


June 24

Loren Wold, PhD (The Ohio State University)
Biomedical Research Tower 130

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