Rocky Road

Apr 25, 2024

Most. Decadent. Ice. Cream. Ever.

Rocky Road brings together the best of several worlds: creamy chocolate ice cream, crunchy almonds, and chewy marshmallows.

The secret to life? Keep calm and eat Rocky Road. Right?!

Unfortunately, this isn’t a post about ice cream.

On second thought, it kinda, sorta is.

That’s because the rocky road in question belongs to head and neck cancer patients that develop severe oral mucositis (SOM) – a debilitating side effect of treatment with radiation and the chemotherapy agent, cisplatin. Because SOM involves severely painful ulcerations of the oral cavity, it literally puts the ‘scream’ in ice cream, making it an absolute nightmare to swallow, not only ice cream, but also saliva.

And as for chewing…


To make matters worse more than 90% of head and neck cancer patients lose their sense of taste.

On top of that a common side effect of cisplatin is severe nausea and vomiting.

Tooth and gum disease are also common complications as are bacterial and fungal infections around the mucositis ulcerations.

All of which makes proper nutrition an impossibility and feeding tubes or food pumps a near certainty.

Bottom line ice cream is not top of mind for those that suffer from SOM. Relief is. Unfortunately, relief is in short supply because to date no anti-mucositis agents are available.

But, as Benjamin Franklin once famously remarked, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Hopefully that prevention comes in the form of the EpicentRx lead small molecule, RRx-001 (nibrozetone). In a Phase 2a clinical trial called PREVLAR, short pretreatment with RRx-001 (nibrozetone) dramatically reduced the incidence and duration of SOM, which led to award of FDA Fast Track designation.

Excellent news.

Fingers crossed for more excellent news from the soon-to-start follow-on Phase 2b trial called KEVLARx, which compares the combination of RRx-001 (nibrozetone), cisplatin, and chemotherapy to cisplatin and chemotherapy alone.

Let’s hope head and neck cancer patients all scream for ice cream – but this time not because it hurts to swallow but because thanks to RRx-001 (nibrozetone) it doesn’t.