28th June 2011
A study into cancer treatment is aiming to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy which can have an irreversible effect on patients' health.
Chemist Jurgen Gailer from the University of Calgary in Canada and his team are studying the impact the anticancer drugs have on blood chemistry by tracking the changes of platinum levels when drugs containing the metal are mixed with blood plasma.
Speaking about the study, Dr Gailer said that in recent years research has focused on new compounds rather than understanding existing ones.
"The chemistry of the bloodstream has been a bit neglected because it's such a complicated fluid, but we have developed a very simple method to figure out what platinum molecule is actually reaching the tumour," he told the Calgary Herald.
Platinum chemotherapy is used as a last resort for patients with the deadliest forms of cancer.
Side effects can include hearing loss, kidney disease, even brain damage. If these dangers could be eliminated, the cancer treatment could possibly be used for more people.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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