Queensland researchers say they have discovered how to put key immune cells to sleep during chemotherapy, and wake them when they are needed to fight infection.The research could dramatically relieve the suffering of millions of chemotherapy patients, and human trials are expected to start next year.Brisbane chemo patient Robert Simpson says he struggles with ulcers and infections every time he has chemo treatment to rid his body of non-Hodgkins lymphoma."It would be absolutely fantastic for those people and anybody like me because any relief you can get - any less stress that you can get - is going to improve your chances of getting through the cancer," he said."This is something that is going to help - OK, not me - but it's going to help a lot of people like me and a lot of people worse than me."Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler, a researcher at Brisbane's Mater Hospital, says with luck the development will be available around the world within five years."I have some patents on this now and there's quite a few companies interested in developing it in the US," she said.She says it is of particular assistance for patients requiring high-dose chemotherapy for diseases like leukaemia, as their infections can be life-threatening."The antagonist would see a faster recovery of the blood and immune system after each round of chemotherapy and should work for all different sorts of cancers," she said.Professor Andrew Perkins, a stem cell biologist and haematologist at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, has also been working on the drug's clinical application."I think it will make a big difference to high-dose chemotherapy patients, with the phase one trial to involve up to 30 relapsed acute leukaemia patients in Brisbane," he said.He says the drug protects the normal stem cells in bone marrow, known as haematopoietic stem cells, which get poisoned by repeated rounds of chemotherapy.He says there has been extensive interest since the publication of initial research findings in Nature Medicine in 2012.There has been extensive work since then, testing chemotherapy on animal models to determine when to deliver the drug.