College papers help


History of chemotherapy and cancer treatment research

A history of cancer chemotherapy.

Like war, early chemotherapy was dangerous and unpredictable, sometimes advancing against cancer, but often forced into retreat. Mustard gas was originally used in the first world war, and even though it was subsequently outlawed under the Geneva Convention, over 2,000 nitrogen mustard bombs — 100 tonnes of the poison — were secretly stockpiled on a US ship anchored at Bari, an Italian base.

When the SS John Harvey was blown up in a German air raid during the second world war, its secret cargo detonated, causing untold death and suffering — and sowing the seed from which cancer medicine would grow.

  1. A cadre of academic physicians, led by the famous hematologist William Dameshek, who having seen apparent success turn to failure could never again be persuaded that cancer was curable by drugs 20 , became harsh critics of a national drug development program and the effort to prove that drugs could cure advanced cancers. Using Robots in the OR At the University of Chicago medical campus, surgical oncologists are using innovative minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat many types of cancer.
  2. There are lots of other targeted therapies being used in the clinic and even more doing well in clinical trials, and the search continues for targets that are even more specific to cancer cells.
  3. Publication of these results in 1946 led to widespread enthusiasm for the use of drugs related to the chemicals in nitrogen mustard, such as chlorambucil and cyclophosphamide, the latter of which is still commonly used for breast cancer and several other cancers today.
  4. Frequently articles quoting Jones on these issues will claim that he published these statistics in his article in Transactions , New York Academy of Science, series 2, v. A cadre of academic physicians, led by the famous hematologist William Dameshek, who having seen apparent success turn to failure could never again be persuaded that cancer was curable by drugs 20 , became harsh critics of a national drug development program and the effort to prove that drugs could cure advanced cancers.
  5. In women with breast cancer, it decreases the risk of their dying from breast cancer by approximately one-third.

A chemical warfare expert arrived to confront the aftermath, and the postmortems he ordered showed something startling: Back then, cancer was an enigma. One of the few things known was that cancer cells, like lymph and bone marrow cells, multiply much faster than normal cells.

And so chemotherapy was born. Like war, it was dangerous and unpredictable, sometimes advancing, often forced to retreat.

History of Breast Cancer

The first time a patient was treated with cyclophosphamide, the active part of nitrogen mustard, the tumour shrank — something not even thought possible at the time.

But it was a temporary miracle.

First to Use Hormone Therapy for Cancer Patients

Life starts as a single cell, and diseases, including cancer, start at the cellular level. Usually, disease-causing cells can be found and destroyed because they are obviously different from our normal, healthy cells.

Chemotherapy doesn’t work? Not so fast… (A lesson from history)

But cancer is our own cells slightly altered, which makes it very challenging to treat. For a long time, we thought our only chance was to attack rapidly dividing cells, and accept the collateral damage to normal cells that divide quickly: It was like waging war on Afghanistan to stop Bin Laden.

Cancer Firsts at the University of Chicago Medicine

Thankfully, cancer medicine is going in a new direction. Instead we use intelligence heightened knowledge of how cancer works to track that man, then send in an elite team to stop him and only him targeted therapy. The past few decades of research have revealed that many cancers have unique features that make them different from normal cells, and these differences provide us with cancer-specific drug targets.

One of these is a protein called HER2.

  1. It was like waging war on Afghanistan to stop Bin Laden.
  2. Inherited mutations in these genes can predict an increased risk of breast cancer.
  3. There are many battles yet to be fought before the war nears an end. But in reality virtually any drug used to treat cancer is chemotherapy, which is why I like to point out to fans of Stanislaw Burzynski that his antineoplastons , if they actually worked against cancer, would be rightly considered chemotherapy, every bit as much as cyclophosphamide, 5-fluorouracil, and other common chemotherapeutics.
  4. No sickness, no side effects — and no fear. There are many battles yet to be fought before the war nears an end.

About 25 out of 100 breast cancers have high levels of it on their cells, but the normal cells next to them have hardly any.

One of the first patients to be treated with Herceptin, who had been expected to die within months, is still alive decades later.

Targeting Cancer Cells for Effective Therapy

Similarly, some melanoma patients carry a mutated gene called BRAF-V600E, and drugs such as Zelboraf that attack it have almost doubled survival for these patients. There are lots of other targeted therapies being used in the clinic and even more doing well in clinical trials, and the search continues for targets that are even more specific to cancer cells. Cancer is a cunning and devious enemy.

It only works on cancer cells with HER2. There are many battles yet to be fought before the war nears an end.

Chemotherapy: from world war to the war on cancer

But the success and promise of targeted therapies means that we can hope for a future where we will think of cancer as an illness, not a death sentence, and where cancer treatment can be as simple as taking a pill. No sickness, no side effects — and no fear.

This is the first of a three-part series on chemotherapy.