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Cancer – Chemotherapy

Sanjay Juneja, MD Sanjay Juneja, MD February 1, 2021
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Chemotherapy, standard cytotoxic chemotherapy, cyto meaning cell and toxic, so something that is toxic to cells, that's the kind of chemotherapy we've used for decades. And that people are pretty used to thinking about when they think about cancer. The way these chemotherapy drugs work is, it's essentially a poison that the whole purpose is to poison a cell upon its replication process. That's most of our drugs is when a cancer cell is splitting. The problem is, is your regular cells split as well. So we had a lot of elaborate studies to get the dosing right on how much is enough to kill those and melt away those cancer cells that replicate fast without affecting the regular ones too much. That's how we standardize our dosing. But what happens is the cells that do replicate fast in your body, for example, your hair cells or the cells along your gut, they replicate fast. So they do get affected by this cytotoxic chemotherapy more than some of your slower growing cells. That's why hair loss and nausea and lack of appetite, and sometimes a little diarrhea are common side effects, because those are the cells that are affected the quickest.

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