News tagged with chemotherapeutic agent

Related topics: cancer cells

Tailoring treatment in ovarian cancer

(Medical Xpress)—The prognosis for ovarian cancer patients is poor with only 3 out of 10 women living at least 5 years after diagnosis. Clinicians urgently need the tools to provide a more accurate prognosis ...

Jun 11, 2014
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Individual efficacy of chemotherapies

The function of the mitochondria – also defined as "power plants" within the cells – is essential as to whether, and how, some chemotherapeutic agents take effect in tissue. Scientists at the Helmholtz ...

May 10, 2013
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New research may aid treatment of multiple myeloma patients

A study led by Robert G. Hawley, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of anatomy and regenerative biology at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), may help predict which ...

Jan 23, 2013
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Cancer therapy: Nanokey opens tumors to attack

There are plenty of effective anticancer agents around. The problem is that, very often, they cannot gain access to all the cells in solid tumors. A new gene delivery vehicle may provide a way of making tracks to the heart ...

Nov 14, 2012
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Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, in its most general sense, refers to treatment of disease by chemicals that kill cells, both good and bad, but specifically those of micro-organisms or cancerous tumours. In popular usage, it refers to antineoplastic drugs used to treat cancer or the combination of these drugs into a cytotoxic standardized treatment regimen. In its non-oncological use, the term may also refer to antibiotics (antibacterial chemotherapy). In that sense, the first modern chemotherapeutic agent was Paul Ehrlich's arsphenamine, an arsenic compound discovered in 1909 and used to treat syphilis. This was later followed by sulfonamides discovered by Domagk and penicillin discovered by Alexander Fleming.

Most commonly, chemotherapy acts by killing cells that divide rapidly, one of the main properties of cancer cells. This means that it also harms cells that divide rapidly under normal circumstances: cells in the bone marrow, digestive tract and hair follicles; this results in the most common side effects of chemotherapy—myelosuppression (decreased production of blood cells), mucositis (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract) and alopecia (hair loss).

Other uses of cytostatic chemotherapy agents (including the ones mentioned below) are the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis and the suppression of transplant rejections (see immunosuppression and DMARDs). Newer anticancer drugs act directly against abnormal proteins in cancer cells; this is termed targeted therapy.

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