by Darlene Sherrell
One day, I got curious and looked in my pharmacology book to see what I could find about fluoride. What I found changed my life.
I learned that when the drinking water contained about one part per million of fluoride, 10 to 15 percent of the children would show a faint change in the appearance of their teeth called dental fluorosis; but with 2 or 3 parts per million, nearly all will be affected by this first and only visible sign of fluoride poisoning. I also learned that fluoride is the key ingredient in a widely used cancer drug called 5-FU. The cells die because fluorine enters into one of the molecules in DNA — the genetic material.
Chemical name: Fluorouracil, also called 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU
Brand name: Adrucil
How it works: Antimetabolites kill cancer cells by acting as false building blocks in a cancer cell’s genes, causing the cancer cell to die as it gets ready to divide.
Uses: Fluorouracil often is used in combination with other chemotherapy medicines to treat:
- early-stage breast cancer after surgery and other treatments
- advanced-stage breast cancer
How it’s given: Flourouracil is given intravenously.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
A commonly used chemotherapy drug causes healthy brain cells to die off long after treatment has ended and may be one of the underlying biological causes of the cognitive side effects – or “chemo brain” – that many cancer patients experience. That is the conclusion of a study published today in the Journal of Biology.
A team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Harvard Medical School have linked the widely used chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) to a progressing collapse of populations of stem cells and their progeny in the central nervous system.
“This study is the first model of a delayed degeneration syndrome that involves a global disruption of the myelin-forming cells that are essential for normal neuronal function,” said Mark Noble, Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute and senior author of the study. “Because of our growing knowledge of stem cells and their biology, we can now begin to understand and define the molecular mechanisms behind the cognitive difficulties that linger and worsen in a significant number of cancer patients.”
Cancer patients have long complained of neurological side effects such as short-term memory loss and, in extreme cases, seizures, vision loss, and even dementia. Until very recently, these cognitive side effects were often dismissed as the byproduct of fatigue, depression, and anxiety related to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now a growing body of evidence has documented the scope of these conditions, collectively referred to as chemo brain. And while it is increasingly acknowledged by the scientific community that many chemotherapy agents may have a negative impact on brain function in a subset of cancer patients, the precise mechanisms that underlie this dysfunction have not been identified.
Virtually all cancer survivors experience short-term memory loss and difficulty concentrating during and shortly after treatment. A study two years ago by researchers with the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester showed that upwards of 82 percent of breast cancer patients reported that they suffer from some form of cognitive impairment.
While these effects tend to wear off over time, a subset of patients, particularly those who have been administered high doses of chemotherapy, begin to experience these cognitive side effects months or longer after treatment has ceased and the drugs have long since departed their systems. For example, a recent study estimates that somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of the nation’s 2.4 million female breast cancer survivors have lingering cognitive problems years after treatment. Another study showed that 50 percent of women had not recovered their previous level of cognitive function one year after treatment……
……..Two years ago, Noble and his team showed that three common chemotherapy drugs used to treat a wide range of cancers were more toxic to healthy brain cells than the cancer cells they were intended to treat. While these experiments were among the first to establish a biological basis for the acute onset of chemo brain, they did not explain the lingering impact that many patients experience………
………“It is clear that, in some patients, chemotherapy appears to trigger a degenerative condition in the central nervous system,” said Noble…….
About 275,000 patients receive 5-FU alone or in a combination regimen. Of these patients, less than 10% will experience the chemotherapy side effects from grade 3-5 toxicity”
But what if you are one of those 275,000 patients who experience 5-FU chemotherapy Side Effects???
Cancer patients who are given an overdose of 5-FU or are susceptible to 5-FU used to die 95% of the time. 5-FU chemotherapy is so toxic that it kills patients. I thought that FDA approval meant that the approved therapy was “safe and effective.” I guess the FDA’s definition of safe and my definition of safe differ...
Further, according to the article below, “about 275,000 patients receive 5-FU alone or in a combination regimen. Of these patients, less than 10% will experience grade 3-5 toxicity.” Does this mean that 10% or 27,500 cancer patient risk severe collateral damage from chemotherapy?