Can we count the number of cancer cells

When cells divide in an uncontrolled manner, tumors develop. What are the most common types of cancer in Helios? How do the drugs that fight them work?

The cells lose their order

All human internal organs consist of a firmly defined cell structure. The plan for the order of these cells with one another is defined in our genome. All cells only have a certain lifespan. When its end is reached, the cell receives the signal to destroy itself in order to be replaced by a new one. When a tumor develops in an organ, this order gets mixed up. Cells that have received the signal to cell death ignore this instruction. Others begin to multiply uncontrollably, although the signal to grow has not yet been given. The uncontrolled growing cells displace healthy tissue and a tumor develops.

This is how chemotherapy works

When cells in the body get out of hand, doctors can stop this growth with chemotherapy. Cells are particularly sensitive in certain phases of growth. The substances used act on cell division, which then stops and the cell dies.

Unfortunately, even healthy cells that are multiplying are damaged by chemotherapy. This results in side effects such as hair loss because the hair cells are damaged here. If you imagine the body as a forest, chemotherapy is comparable to a wildfire because it affects all cells equally. The effect on the tumor arises from the fact that tumor cells divide more frequently and are therefore more frequently affected.

The personalized therapy

If, through molecular diagnostics, we know why the tumor cell ignores the signal to cell death or to stop cell division, we can take targeted countermeasures with drugs. That is, we really only remove the malignant cells. There are of course side effects with this therapy too, because the binding sites that are blocked here are also present on healthy cells. But they are less common and differ in type and severity from chemotherapy.

Cancer in numbers

How does cancer develop? Information about the development and treatment of cancer cells. Download the info poster now.

Helios Network Cancer Medicine

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Last updated on May 12, 2020