WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Stephen R. Rapp, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, has received the Award for Excellence in Quality of Life Research from the Society for Neuro-Oncology.
The award, supported by the Sontag Foundation, was for a study that Rapp and his colleagues did on brain tumor patients who were treated first with radiation therapy, followed by administration of a drug called donepezil (trade name Aricept).
“Patients who have undergone cranial radiation for primary or metastatic brain tumors often suffer neurocognitive effects that interfere with daily activities, mood, and quality of life,” said Rapp, professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine.
Donepezil already had been shown to improve cognitive function in patients with dementia. “This study was designed to determine whether donepezil could also be useful for brain tumor patients who had undergone radiation,” he said, and the results indicated it was.
On tests of cognitive function after 24 weeks on the drug, scores significantly improved on verbal fluency, verbal memory, attention/concentration and non-verbal memory, Rapp reported. The research was paid for by the National Cancer Institute.
The Sontag Foundation is a rheumatoid arthritis and brain cancer research funding partner that has provided grant opportunities for medical researchers who are seeking new knowledge to improve available treatment options or aid in the search for a cure for either of these two diseases.
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About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,298 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.