What are the different types of chemotherapy? Cancer has been a very troublesome illness, especially these past few years. Given that more chemicals are being used to process the food we eat, cancer has been imminent to many people. Cancer is a traitor. Most forms inhibit when the cancer has spread already. This being said, most people have no choice but to turn to chemotherapy. And since there are many different types of cancer, more and more chemotherapy treatment drugs are being introduced recently. The types of chemotherapy are based on their active cancer killing agents. They are alkylating agents, plant alkaloids, antitumor antibiotics, antimetabolites, topoisomerase inhibitors, and some others.
The first types of chemotherapy are the alkylating agents. These are chemotherapy drugs that are most active in the phase of the cancel cell when they are resting. The good thing about these types of chemotherapy drugs is that they are not specific of the cell cycle. Therefore, it means that they are pretty generic. In chemotherapy treatments, there are many different types of alkylating agents used. Some of them are derivatives from mustard gas, metal salts, alkylsulfonates, triazines and hydrazines, and nitrosureas. Nitrosoureas are medicines used to slow down the enzymes that repair the cancer cell. The bad thing about this is that they travel to the brain. Other types of chemotherapy drugs, however, don’t.
Plant alkaloids are types of chemotherapy treatments that are derived from plants. Unlike the alkylating agents, plant alkaloids are specifically attacking cancer cell cycles. This means that these types of chemotherapy drugs attack the cancer cells during their phases of division. Some examples of plant alkaloids include vinca alkaloids, podophyllotoxins, taxanes, and camptothecan analogs. In laymen’s terms, plant alkaloids block the cancer cells ability to multiply and repair. Therefore, they effectively stop or at the least slow down the cancer from spreading.
Antitumor antibiotics are chemotherapy treatments that are produced from natural soil fungus. They are made from microorganisms but do not act like your ordinary antibiotics. Their main task is to break up the cancer cell strands as well as stop the cell synthesis to stop or slow down cancer cells to grow. Much like the other types of chemotherapy treatments, these antitumor antibiotics can work in all of the phases of the cancer cell cycle.
Antimetabolites are the types of chemotherapy drugs or medicines that are incorporated into the normal cell metabolism. When they do this, the cancer cells will be slowed down or stopped from being able to multiply and divide. Thus, they can, at least, be controlled over time. Mainly, these types of chemotherapy treatment drugs are interfering with the cancer cell’s DNA as well as its RNA. This way, when the cancer cells are dividing, they butt in and start working.
Lastly, topoisomerase inhibitors are types of chemotherapy treatment medicines that restrict topoisomerase enzymes. They manipulate the DNA structure of the cancer cells which eventually slows them down and sometimes, stop them completely. There are two basic types of this chemotherapy treatment, the topoisomerase I and topoisomerase II.