videos
Concept of Chemotherapy

Concept of Chemotherapy

December 14, 2021
Sanjay Juneja, MD
Sanjay Juneja, MD

Medical Oncology

Share

Transcript

Traditionally what cytotoxic chemotherapy is, or “poison” of sorts, is it’s therapies that basically kill the cell when the cell is trying to replicate. So it’s not necessarily what the cell has or why it has it, but when cells replicate, they basically blueprint their DNA to make the new cell. Well, if you can damage that blueprint enough and you don’t have a good foundation to the house, the house is just going to break, right? Or fall. Or your immune system will say, “This is a really unhealthy cell., We’re going to kill the cell. It doesn’t look right at all.” Whereas the cancer cells kind of go underneath the surveillance of your immune system. So you’re giving chemotherapy to cells that every time they replicate, or some chemotherapy, it’s not necessarily the replication part, but they’re all a shotgun to say, “Let me poison the cells that are growing the fastest.” In that process, you do poison, to a degree, your own cells, but the poison delivery has been studied to say how much can we get away with where yes, a patient may be nauseous and yes, a patient may have some diarrhea or hair loss, but it’s not so much that the human body can’t take it. And we do that so that the cancer cells all the way down from millions to a hundred and thousands just start dying, to zero, is the hope. And the important thing to remember, anytime you’re trying to cure something, you don’t stay on chemotherapy forever. If the treatment is curative or definitive, you’re subjecting the person and the cancer cells temporarily for some duration to keep hitting it with that chemotherapy or poison. So that eventually it’s eradicated. That’s the concept of a curative setting with the traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy we used to use.