Researchers based in the United States have determined that chemotherapy, the main option used to treat cancer patients of all walks, might be making the situation worse. The emphasis of the study focused on those with breast cancer. Chemotherapy, as the study found, could increase the risk for metastasis.
Per the study:
Breast cancer is one of the most common tumor types, and metastasis greatly increases the risk of death from this disease. By studying the process of intravasation or entry of cells into the vasculature, Karagiannis et al. discovered that, in addition to killing tumor cells, chemotherapy treatment can also increase intravasation. Groups of cells collectively known as tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM) can serve as gateways for tumor cells entering the vasculature, and the authors discovered that several types of chemotherapy can increase the amounts of TMEM complexes and circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream. The researchers also determined that a drug called rebastinib can interfere with TMEM activity and help overcome the increased risk of cancer cell dissemination.
“The blood vessels of patients receiving chemotherapy drugs have more ‘entry points’ through which cancer cells can get into the blood flow and disperse throughout the body, scientists report today in Science Translational Medicine. In mice with breast cancer, chemotherapy shrinks the primary tumor but boosts the number of cancer cells in the lungs and circulating the body.”
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What this would mean is that while chemo would likely be effective at treating the original tumor, its side-effect of creating more malignant cancer cells which spread about the body. This means a more aggressive form of cancer, according to the study.
This has led many to pursue more knowledge about the use of cannabis to treat cancer.
One study determined that cannabis could actually help cancer patients.
“In addition to the well-known palliative effects of cannabinoids on some cancer-associated symptoms, a large body of evidence shows that these molecules can decrease tumor growth in animal models of cancer. They do so by modulating key cell-signaling pathways involved in the control of cancer cell proliferation and survival. In addition, cannabinoids inhibit angiogenesis and decrease metastasis in various tumor types in laboratory animals.”
We are a long ways away from any meaningful alternative treatments at this juncture. But phamaceutical companies continue to be exposed as potentially not putting the patients needs as the priority.