Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Favorable outcomes seen in long term for ALLR3 trial

(HealthDay)—For children with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia with late bone marrow relapse, risk stratification by minimal residual disease seems to be an effective strategy for treatment, according to a ...

Cancer

Tecentriq approved for small cell lung cancer

(HealthDay)—Tecentriq (atezolizumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC).

Cancer

Targeting stem-like cells could prevent ovarian cancer recurrence

Ovarian cancer is not the most common form of cancer, but it's among the deadliest. That's because about 70 percent of cases recur. A new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Magee-Womens ...

Cancer

Long-term cardiomyopathy risk varies by chemo agent

(HealthDay)—Long-term cardiomyopathy risk varies by chemotherapy agent for childhood cancer survivors, with a decreased risk for daunorubicin versus doxorubicin, according to a study recently published in JAMA Oncology.

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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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