How does chemotherapy work? – Hyunsoo Joshua No

During World War I, one of the
horrors of trench warfare was a poisonous yellow cloud
called mustard gas. For those unlucky enough to be exposed, it made the air impossible to breathe,
burned their eyes, and caused huge blisters on exposed skin. Scientists tried desperately to develop an
antidote to this vicious weapon of war. In the process they discovered the gas
was irrevocably damaging the bone marrow of affected soldiers— halting its
ability to make blood cells. Despite these awful effects,
it gave scientists an idea. Cancer cells share a characteristic with
bone marrow: both replicate rapidly. So could one of the atrocities of war become a champion in the
fight against cancer? Researchers in the 1930s
investigated this idea by injecting compounds derived
from mustard gas into the veins of cancer patients. It took time and trial and error to find
treatments that did more good than harm, but by the end of World War II, they discovered what became known
as the first chemotherapy drugs. Today, there are more than 100. Chemotherapy drugs are delivered
through pills and injections and use “cytotoxic agents,” which means
compounds that are toxic to living cells. Essentially, these medicines cause some
level of harm to all cells in the body— even healthy ones. But they reserve their most powerful
effects for rapidly-dividing cells, which is precisely the hallmark of cancer. Take, for example, those first
chemotherapy drugs, which are still used today and
are called alkylating agents. They’re injected into the bloodstream, which delivers them to
cells all over the body. Once inside, when the cell exposes
its DNA in order to copy it, they damage the building blocks of
DNA’s double helix structure, which can lead to cell death unless
the damage is repaired. Because cancer cells multiply rapidly, they take in a high concentration
of alkylating agents, and their DNA is frequently exposed
and rarely repaired. So they die off more often
than most other cells, which have time to fix damaged DNA and don’t accumulate the same
concentrations of alkylating agents. Another form of chemotherapy involves
compounds called microtubule stabilizers. Cells have small tubes that assemble
to help with cell division and DNA replication, then break back down. When microtubule stabilizers
get inside a cell, they keep those tiny tubes
from disassembling. That prevents the cell from completing
its replication, leading to its death. These are just two examples of the six
classes of chemotherapy drugs we use to treat cancer today. But despite its huge benefits,
chemotherapy has one big disadvantage: it affects other healthy cells in the body
that naturally have to renew rapidly. Hair follicles, the cells of the mouth,
the gastrointestinal lining, the reproductive system, and bone marrow
are hit nearly as hard as cancer. Similar to cancer cells, the rapid
production of these normal cells means that they’re reaching for
resources more frequently— and are therefore more exposed to
the effects of chemo drugs. That leads to several common side
effects of chemotherapy, including hair loss, fatigue, infertility,
nausea, and vomiting. Doctors commonly prescribe options
to help manage these side-effects, such as strong anti-nausea medications. For hair loss, devices called cold caps
can help lower the temperature around the head and
constrict blood vessels, limiting the amount of chemotherapy
drugs that reach hair follicles. And once a course of chemo
treatment is over, the healthy tissues that’ve been badly
affected by the drug will recover and begin to renew as usual. In 2018 alone, over 17 million people
world-wide received a cancer diagnosis. But chemotherapy and other treatments
have changed the outlook for so many. Just take the fact that up to 95% of
individuals with testicular cancer survive it, thanks to advances
in treatment. Even in people with acute myeloid
leukemia— an aggressive blood cancer— chemotherapy puts an estimated
60% of patients under 60 into remission following their
first phase of treatment. Researchers are still developing
more precise interventions that only target the intended
cancer cells. That’ll help improve survival rates
while leaving healthy tissues with reduced harm, making one of the best tools we have
in the fight against cancer even better.

100 Replies to “How does chemotherapy work? – Hyunsoo Joshua No”

  1. My mom has survived 2 cancers and is now on her 3rd one. Cheers to all the brave souls who's fighting this disease with their courageous heart. May all of you be blessed with healing.

  2. I went trough testicular cancer for 3 years ago and knew most of this, but not that the orgin where from mustard gas. A funnny thing is that I still feelt nausea from seeing the animated bag with chemotherapy bags shown betweem 1-1,5 min. And I can´t even today eat the hospital food because nausea

  3. theriphi is cold plasma radiation energy that is what I want everyone to google right now! using light to heal. no joke, nothing crazy. just the future is in light healing.

  4. I'm sorry but chemo is BARBARIC. The future will look back on it the way we look back on a 13th century abortion. The idea is to poison your body and hope the cancer dies before you do…

  5. It does not work lets be real. Follow the money. the very few instances it supposedly works could just be that the patient was going to recover anyway.

  6. Chemo doesn’t work
    Natural product are more effective and less painful with no side effects. Read about the research in olive oil micro compounds ability to stop cancer and you will get surprised.

  7. Can we just take a moment and appreciate the work that countless scientists and researchers have done over the many many years to battle this horrific disease. No amount of money or rewards is comparable to their work.

  8. Cue all the nutters who have claimed their snake oil "Cures cancer" using pseudoscience to "prove" to take advatage of vunerable people.

  9. I wish the quote at the beginning stayed on the screen for a bit longer, maybe I’m a slow reader but I’m never able to read it all in time. Issa small nitpick but now back to the video which I’m sure will be as great as the others!

  10. Unfortnuately i have a friend who's Grandpa just stopped Chemo therapy and now uses "alternative medizin" like herb tea and that stuff.
    Chemo therapy isn't perfect, but at least you have a chance to survive cancer with it…you don't have that with eating some leaves. But my friend and his grandpa are convinced that this is going to help him. It's sad that this guy unintentionally kills his own grandfather cause he's so desperate for help.

  11. My best friend’s mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month, and I’m really heart broken…how haven’t we found a cure for this already?

  12. Was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in December of 2017. Going through my third round of chemotherapy right now, had a relapse six weeks ago, everything was going fine. You truly never know what is around the corner. I'm so grateful for all the scientists that invented and discovered the treatment I am getting. Even if it makes me feel terrible and is literally poisoning me, it's saving my life. 2020 will be a great year again I know it. To anyone else battling cancer, hang in there! Even if no one else understands, I understand! Take care people and treat each other with respect. You never know what people are going through.

  13. Batman: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
    Medicine: "You either die a villain, or you live long enough to see yourself become the hero."

  14. By the title I thought the video was about whether dying of cancer is preferable to chemotherapy.

    It’s not, by the way.

  15. I know this is off topic but please tell me the next "Why You Should Read" is coming soon 🙂 my friends and I place bets on what book you'll do next and they all think (for some reason) you're gonna do either Infinite Jest or Count of Monte Cristo. While I think those would be amazing I'm really holding out for a Native Son episode 😉

  16. I survived lingual tonsil cancer ten years ago. Eight months chemotherapy and 37 applications of radiation. There were some dark days in there but was told that my positive attitude and will to lived brought me through. Anyone with cancer please know that a good positive attitude will carry you a long way no matter how dark the days get.

  17. From What I Learn About The Various Cancer Treatments, I Trust In Cryotheraphy More Than Chemotherapy — More Targeted In Approach Of Elimination Of Cancer Cells, Less Health Complications After Cryotheraphy Treatment.

    But Still, After Finishing Up This Video, I'd Like To Thank Anyone Who Had Contributed In The Making Of This Elaborative Animated Video To Spread The Word Of Knowledge Among The Public Community…And Those Who Had Contributed To The Research And Development Of Chemotherapy Treatment And Those Who Had Cancer Is Being Treated With Said Treatment To Never Give Up On The Fight Against Cancer Cells, Peace Out And Much Love. <3

  18. I'm not even going to watch the video and answer the question. It kills the cancer then it kills you. 90% of cancer deaths are from the treatment not the actual cancer.

  19. If I'm not mistaken, it's about the same as putting a part of cheese in lava in the hopes that it will also take off the rotten parts of it. Right?

  20. There is a chemical compound that selectively adheres to cancer cells in the bladder. The compounds also react when exposed to a certain wavelength of light (in this case green light).

    For the treatment of bladder cancer, a patient has the chemical in a solution that is pumped into the bladder through the urethra, and the chemical attaches to the cancer cells, but not normal cells. This is repeated a few more times then the solution is taken out, and a fiber optic is inserted into the bladder by the same means. The green light is turned on and the cancer cells with the light-reactive chemical are burnt and die. The rest of the bladder is safe, and the patient could have the cancer completely removed by a couple of treatments.

  21. I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2013, but thanks to three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, I am able to live the life I was meant to live today. Huge shout-out to my amazing doctors and support system of friends/family that stayed by my side for those difficult months. Thank you Ted-Ed for creating these informative videos! Love, a cancer survivor. ❤️

  22. Over 80 years of research, and hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars spent, and the best they have is a pre-world war 2 poison that destroys the patient.
    I wonder how many people could've been healed, and saved, had they focused on a better cure instead of a better chemotherapy

  23. If you're scared of what these do, try your best not to get cancer. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, and especially be active in limiting the number of carcinogens you're exposed to/consumed. This means avoiding larges amount of alcohol, charred/burned foods, and anything that seems too processed; although the occasional drink, barbeque, and hot dog aren't really going to do anything. Prevention is better than treatment.

  24. A third of the human population are under US sanctions that starves them of Cancer treatments and other medications.

  25. One of my aunts is going through chemotherapy right now. Best wishes to everyone who's battling cancer or knows someone who is.

  26. My mother dying of cancer donated needed money to the American Cancer Society. She got boxes of mail costing orders of magnitude more than she donated trying to get her to donate more. How thick is a hundred envelopes with a fifty cents stamp on each … boxes of them. The envelope, and printed letter cost more. Looking into it, I found only 9% is actually used on research. More than half is used for advertising, and the rest on administration. A $5 donation would give 45 cents to research, and spend $500 in wasted mail. Now ponder why we don't have a cure.

  27. اللهم اشفي مرضى السرطان واغمرهم بلطفك يارب هون الم الكماوي عليهم اللهم اجعله يسري بأوردتهم برداً وسلاماً اللهم انت الشافي المعافي اشفي مرضانا ومرضى المسلمين

  28. I wonder if we can put chemo patients suspended in salt baths as they undergo treatment. Maybe it helps reduce damage to their own body from normal daily life activity

  29. People who claims they have cancer are just lying they just want attention and fame and cancer is not true there just experiencing the nocebo effect

  30. Cancer cells require 18x more suger to reproduce than normal cells. If you ever know anyone that gets cancer stop them from eating anything sweet, even fruit.

  31. I hate cancer treatment in it's current state: flood your body with poison and hope there are still some good bits of you left when it's all over. Whole body treatment is a joke, and I for one can't wait until we have more localized treatment other than radiation.

  32. know I will die of cancer and that sounds like a relief: I just wish I could save my life now from misery, rather than wishing to end this life asap.

  33. My dream is to one day establish a medical research center in order to find a cure for this terrible disease. I want to atleast make it a disease that people can live with like how modern medicine has made diabetes a non fatal disease.

  34. I am one of the 17 million. It’s been a very hard 12 months… but I am now in remission. And I am grateful to medical science and all those people who came before me because my treatment was relatively straightforward and absolutely effective.

  35. I love this channel!! It teaches me what school doesn't
    I hope one I'll become a good doctor , one that heals all people and doesn't only heal the rich ones .
    I still got one highschool year that awaits for me .
    Good luck everyone! And , for those who battle with cancer , I wish you recovery!!please be strong!

  36. 3:50 I was always curious about machine that they use while doing chemotherapy, at some point i thought they need radiowaves more than chemical, am i mistakenly those head cap as radio therapy equipment? or patient usually getting chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time? thank you

  37. I got diagnosed with colon cancer stage 3b, I had to do chemo, it was very hard. My health degraded to very close to dying (as I can imagine) . after my 6th chemo I couldn't walk a few yards without running out of breathe and needing long rest. My employer *ord didn't let me to work from home because I am a contractor while my colleague were allowed as standard(without sickness) because they are direct hires.

  38. This is based on what I understood from the video.
    (I am not a medical student, so I might be wrong)

    The chemotherapy chemicals cause harm to both healthy and cancer cells. The cancer cells would die quickly and healthy ones will remain damaged. So what can be done is injection of any marker like chemical which will mark all damaged cells and when next time the chemotherapy happens the new chemicals won't attack the cells with marker drugs.

    In this way more damage won't be created again and again. This would take less time for whole repair of bone marrow cells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *