Scientific Foundations

Cancer develops when the cells of an organ or tissue grow out of control. Normal cells grow, divide and then die. Cancer cells, instead of dying, out-live normal cells and continue to divide abnormally.

Cancer cells develop due to damage in the genetic material, or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), in cells. When DNA becomes damaged, normal cells repair it; however, in cancer cells, this mechanism of repair is somehow disrupted. Cancer can be inherited or it can be caused by something in the environment, like smoke, toxins, or sunlight (more specifically ultraviolet [UV] rays).

Most cancer cells eventually will become a tumor (a mass of abnormal cell growth) and can either be defined as malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). An exception to this is leukemia; this cancer involves blood cells and circulates through the blood. When cancer cells travel to other parts of the body (metastasizes), the cancer can be life threatening.

Cancer drugs

How monoclonal antibodies are made

Cancer drugs

How monoclonal antibodies are made

1. Disease-fighting B cells are removed from mouse spleen.

2. Cancer cells are grown in a laboratory.

5. Antibody cells are cloned and given as treatment to a cancer patient.

Antibody

Antibody

B cell

Myeloma cell

Hybrid A

Myeloma cell

Hybrid B

Hybrid C

5. Antibody cells are cloned and given as treatment to a cancer patient.

Hybrid B

Hybrid A

Hybrid C

3. Antibodies from mouse cells are fused with cancer cells.

4. Antibody type needed for a particular cancer is separated from the rest.

2. Cancer cells are grown in a laboratory.

Anticancer drugs interfere with the growth of tumor cells, eventually causing their death. Common chemotherapy drugs used in various cancers include doxorubicin (Adriamycin) in breast cancer, often administered with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan); paclitaxel (Taxol) in lung cancer; and fluorouracil (5-FU) in colon cancer. Some are given only as injections. Others, such as imatinib (Gleevec) for leukemia are taken by mouth in tablet or liquid form.

Most chemotherapy drugs fall within one of two classes, cycle-specific drugs and non-cycle specific drugs. Cycle-specific drugs act only at specific times in the duplication of a cell, while non-cycle specific drugs act any time within the cell cycle. The drugs are often given in combination in order to achieve the maximum number of opportunities to disrupt cancerous cell growth during the cell cycle.

Traditional chemotherapy has a wide-ranging effect. Although it kills cancer cells, it can also affect surrounding normal cells, particularly those that have a tendency to divide quickly, such as cells in the stomach lining, or the hair follicles (where the hair grows). This is what produces unpleasant side effects such as

How cancer drugs called monoclonal antibodies are created for a particular patient. Illustration by GGS Inc.

It is hard to pinpoint when the first cancer products that specifically target cancer drug was used, as many native peoples cells. For example, the plant product chol-

have historically used herbs to treat some chicine, isolated from the autumn crocus forms of cancer. Scientists now know that flower, was one of the first of plant products some herbs, tea, and bugs contain natural shown to reduce tumors in laboratory mice.

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

Learning About 10 Ways Fight Off Cancer Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life The Best Tips On How To Keep This Killer At Bay Discovering that you or a loved one has cancer can be utterly terrifying. All the same, once you comprehend the causes of cancer and learn how to reverse those causes, you or your loved one may have more than a fighting chance of beating out cancer.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment