Can cancer patients reclaim their sense of taste? Maybe

New research from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus could help cancer patients avoid an altered sense of taste during treatment.

Many cancer drugs target healthy cells as well as tumors. That can alter the sense of taste and lead to health complications like malnutrition and weight loss, and sometimes even death. But researchers at CU Anschutz say they might be able to change that.

Researcher Dany Gaillard says they discovered a key molecular pathway that when activated could renew taste buds after chemotherapy.

“This has a big importance if we think of future development of drugs that could help cancer patients recover from taste loss," Gaillard says. But there is still a lot to learn about how taste is altered at the cellular level.

The study is published in the journal PLOS Genetics.