Chemotherapy: Improving Treatment Techniques

Essay by JaredOUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.7 2 reviews

Being diagnosed with cancer is a very serious issue. Over 1.3 million people are going to be diagnosed with cancer this year alone. About 563,700 people will die this year from cancer-related illnesses. Technically the figures are declining but there are still treatments which need improvement and more studies conducted showing their progression.

Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled and abnormal cell growth. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, which use anti-cancer drugs, are generally included in cancer therapy. Of them, chemotherapy is the most frequently used method to prevent further growth of tumor cells or to kill them. Although the purpose of chemotherapy is to attack tumor cells and stop tumor progression, it turns out to be very challenging to protect normal healthy cells from being damaged by chemotherapy. Anticancer drugs induce high toxicities and side effects, such as vomiting, hair loss, and low immune response, in patients because the drugs attack healthy cells as well as tumor cells.

In some cases, anti-cancer drugs are ineffective in diminishing tumor size because they fail to reach the site of cancer.

In chemotherapy, an intravenous injection (an injection through the vein) is generally used to administer anti-cancer drugs. As a result, the drugs spread throughout the body in blood circulation. Once a drug is in the blood circulation, it reaches any part of the body, from the head to the feet. Therefore, the accumulation of the drugs is at the cancer site only, thus preventing the drugs' distribution throughout the body as required. To solve the side effects and low effectiveness problems of chemotherapy, various approaches have been performed with the goal of "localization of chemotherapy." The approaches are currently categorized under two different titles: local injection method and targeting of anti-cancer drugs.

One approach used to localize chemotherapeutic agents...