The ideal Treatment of Cancer by Chemotherapy would be some compound that selectively destroys malignant cell but is completely harmless to all normal cells. In the worldwide search for such compound, current thinking is understandably influenced by the spectacular successes of antibacterial chemotherapy.
Taking the sulfonamides and penicillin as example, we have substances that exploit explicit metabolic differences between bacterial and mammalian cells, and as result are fatal to many bacteria in minute concentrations and harmless to the human in massive concentrations, apart from the few rare individuals who develop sensitivity reactions.
All of chemotherapy progress is based upon the exploitation of some inherent metabolic difference between the bacterial foreign invader cells and the cells of the chemotherapy are responsible for much confusion in cancer chemotherapy research. Fundamentally, cancers cells are not foreign invaders.
Progress in cancer chemotherapy was first based on the assumption that cancer cells divide at a greater rate than normal cells. Thus it was argued that any chemical poison that would preferentially destroy dividing cells would have a greater deterrent effect upon cancer cells than on the allegedly quiescent cells of the host. Almost every chemotherapeutic compound so far discovered acts in this non specific manner, by interfering with the processes of cells division and multiplication.
With a better understanding, we now see that the use of cytotoxic cancer chemotheraupetic agents can still be justified in such situations because of the greater recovery potential of the normal cells.
The drugs used against cancer may be conveniently grouped into several classes. Mustard gas and nitrogen mustard are in the class of alkylating agents. They have the power of attaching themselves or transferring an alkali group to other molecules, in particular to the units in the DNA of the cells.
The anti metabolites are substances closely similar to some substances that is necessary for growth and reproduction, such as a vitamin. An anti metabolite works by combining with an enzyme or other protein in the same way as does the vitamin or other important molecule, and then not carrying out the vital function, while blocking the vitamin from access.
The mitotic inhibitors prevent mitosis, the process in which the chromosomes in the cell duplicate themselves and then the pairs separate, in order that one set may remain in each of the two daughter cells that are formed when the cells divides.
There are also some anti cancers drugs that have not been assigned to these classes. These drugs are extremely potent poisons, and must be used with very great care and judgment.
The possible cost of the treatment also needs some consideration, to subject the patient and his family to a treatment that has little promise of success and that costs them thousands or tens of dollars may only increase the burden of their suffering. What is near criminal is treating for treatment’s sake, and both patients and many doctors may share the responsibility for such an action.
Patients beg for a treatment, and doctors feel an obligation to provide it, even though it may be obvious that the treatment does more harm than good. It should be kept in mind, when a decision is being made, that the natural protective mechanism of the body, when they are given the opportunity to function most effectively, may retard and just very occasionally overcome the disease.
A great disadvantage of chemotherapy is that the chemotherapeutic agents seriously damage the body’s natural protective mechanism