Chemotherapy the Indiscriminate Killer of Our Immune System
Most chemotherapy drugs are cytotoxic drugs; parented through what is known as a chemical weapon, mustard gas. After World War I chemotherapy was born from what scientists observed using this chemical weapon. Using a far smaller strength and amount patients were injected with the diluted mustard gas with temporary positive results; however every patient died but the project appeared as a success nevertheless to pharmaceutical companies eying large profits.
These drugs induce breakages in DNA strands and bridge strands in the DNA molecule. Such bridges prevent DNA from functioning properly within the cell and may lead to cell mortality. The damaged DNA leads to mutations and repair mechanisms thus influencing the DNA to create cancer cells. Like mustard gas the cytotoxic drugs not only try to kill cancer through a wide spread of killing indiscriminately but they also create cancer.
Bone marrow, the spleen and lymphatic tissue are compromised using chemo drugs. This causes a dramatic reduction in white blood cells, and reacts much like radiation damage. The immune system’s defense mechanism is compromised putting the patients are at a high risk of infection and respiratory complications.
Our immune system over time develops antibodies against pathogens we are exposed to. We vaccinate against the most deadly or debilitating diseases, such vaccines expose our immune system to the pathogens creating in immune response or stored antibodies against the disease. Our library of stored pathogens is a direct part of our immune defense system to keep us from disease or recurrence of the pathogen. What then happens when we are exposed to long term chemotherapy?
Patients undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia or have undergone bone marrow transplants are said to need revaccination after one year. Some suggest that those given chemotherapy need revaccination after three months if the immune competence has been restored. Any patients vaccinated within 2 weeks before chemo need to revaccinate after that three month period. Live – attenuated vaccines should not be given during the chemotherapy treatment and must wait for a three month interval after completion of the treatment.
Children who have received chemotherapy for solid tumors or leukemia lose their antibodies for vaccines like Rubella and need to be revaccinated after one year. Many children undergoing chemotherapy or radiation will lose bacteria fighting leukocytes [neutrophils] . Low neutrophils count creates a reaction called neutropenia.
While it is well known all patients that undergo transplants including bone marrow transplants need to revaccinate thereafter when they have functioning immune systems; those undergoing chemotherapy are often not considered as candidates for revaccination by most doctors. Individual cases have been noted that blood tests showed no antibodies for diseases the patient had previously been vaccinated for. Without routine revaccination patients will live with false security of having immunity to not only the pathogens previously vaccinated for but for those pathogens they were previously exposed to. For adults this may mean diseases such as chickenpox, measles, etc; now they are vulnerable to contract these diseases. Children will be vulnerable to these diseases and exposure to other children having life-attenuating vaccines during their treatment of chemotherapy will put them at a high risk of contracting a serious disease.
Chemotherapy is an indiscriminate killer of cells; it leaves nothing in its path. Only our body’s ability to survive saves us from complete and total destruction or death. For the greater majority of those relying on chemotherapy and radiation the body eventually becomes completely compromised leaving it vulnerable to disease and if the cytotoxic drugs do not kill the body through organ failure, it will succumb to a disease no longer immune.
If you have cancer, treat your disease without compromising the immune system with no side effects, instead of killing your antibodies make antibodies against your cancer. Rather the opposite view of mainstream; however, this is the correct method for healing and overcoming disease.
By Stanley A. Plotkin, Walter Orenstein, Paul A. Offit