Serendipitous History of Cisplatin
Cisplatin is one of the most commonly used drugs for treating cancer today. But like many other human discoveries, there was pinch of luck and coincidence involved in this discovery. It was actually efforts to discovering a cure to antibody resistant bacteria that led to Cisplatin’s discovery.
Let’s go back to the 1940’s. Many antibiotics were discovered which were considered no less to magical potions. They cured so many infections that previously meant death sentences. Hence, they got widespread coverage and everyone started to use them, sometimes even when not needed. By 1960’s, there were new set of infections caused by bacteria that earned resistant against antibiotics. This led to many searching for alternatives for the same.
Dr. Barnett Rosenberg was one such physicist who was in search of ways to kill bacteria and was exploring low electric fields for the same. To his surprise, in one of his tests, the bacterial cell grew 300 times in length but failed to replicate. Upon further evaluation, he understood there was a compound (cisplatin) that was forming as he used platinum as the electrodes. It was this compound that led to the arrest of cell multiplication.
Soon he and other around the world started exploring what if this could arrest tumour cell division too. It too more than a decade to get into human trials but since then, it has been used to cure many cancer patients with various kinds of cancer.
How cisplatin works
Cisplatin is injected into the blood stream of a patient. Once inside, it gets circulated to the entire body and enters cancer cells (also non-cancerous cells too). It then forms cisplatin hydrate by binding with water inside cell. This new molecule binds to the DNA, damaging it. Then internal cell mechanism recognises this damage during replication and triggers cell death (apoptosis). Cisplatin has its effects highest on cells that are in the process of multiplication. As most tumour cells are in the process of multiplication always, they get effected by cisplatin.
Details of how cisplatin works for geeks
There are several molecular mechanisms that are thought to be involved in the functioning of cisplatin. Some of them are:
1. Cisplatin causes damage to DNA by binding to the N7 reactive centre. This blocks cell replication and further causes apoptosis
2. Cancer cells generally have greater reactive oxygen levels which effects its proteins, lipids and DNA. Cisplatin induces further oxidative stress, damaging the them. Cisplatin’s primary target is the mitochondria. All this also leads to cell apoptosis
3. Cisplatin also is found to disrupt calcium homeostasis when it effects the mitochondria of the cell. Even this change of calcium levels leads to cell apoptosis.
Side-Effects of Cisplatin
As indicated before, it effects any cell that is in the process of multiplication. There are certain cells in our body that are in a constant state of multiplication and such cells get effect most by cisplatin.
1. Hair cells are one such set of cells which multiply very frequently. This is the reason most cancer patients going through either cisplatin or many other chemo drug treatments loose hair as their hair cells are affected by cisplatin.
2. Stomach and intestinal system cell lining is another place where there is extensive cell growth due to constant rupture by food moment. Hence these cells also get effected by Cisplatin. The natural reaction by our body when this happens is to trigger vomiting so that any toxins we took in comes out. This natural reaction unfortunately gets triggered after cisplatin treatment too.
3. Cisplatin is found to effect kidney and has found to have log term effects on it. One of the major side effects of it is nephrotoxicity.
Tumour resistance to Cisplatin
Cancer cells sort of evolve over time. Sometimes, part of this evolution is to build resistance to drugs used to kill them. There are several mechanisms that can cause this resistance. Some examples for cisplatin resistance are:
1. Reduction (deregulation) of transporter molecules that transport cisplatin from outside to inside.
2. Inhibition of signalling mechanisms involved in cell apoptosis. Cell apoptosis is the primary way cisplatin effects cancer. Hence, inhibiting that effects the efficacy of cisplatin.
Cancers treated by cisplatin:
Cisplatin is used as a primary line of treatment for the following cancers: leukemia, lymphomas, testicular cancers, ovarian cancers, breast cancers, head and neck cancers and cervical cancers and sarcomas.
General Cisplatin cycle lengths :
This varies based on the type of cancer but following are some of the general cycle times:
- Every 3 or 4 weeks
- Once a week
- Everyday over a 5day period, repeating this every 3 or 4 weeks
What is the research that’s currently done on cisplatin?
Though there is a strong hypothesis of how cisplatin actually treats cancer, there have been many alternate ways found over time of mechanism behind cisplatin. It is still an active area of research.
Another area of active research is on treating for both short term and long-term side-effects of cisplatin. One of the branches from the same was to find alternative platinum based compounds that treat for cancer. Carboplatin, oxaliplatin and many other platinum based drugs which are actively been used in treatment have come out from this research.
Where can you get this treatment?
Cisplatin is generally prescribed by a certified medical oncologist. Also administering this drug needs extra care and training, hence only an onco trained nurse can give this drug. Given the requirement of such pool of skill, this treatment is generally available only in top cities across India. But CION Cancer Clinics is pioneering in taking this treatment to grassroot level. We do chemotherapies in all major districts in Telangana and Northern Andhra Pradesh where our specialised team travels. We have tied up with top hospitals in these districts which can support us for any medical requirement during the chemotherapy. It is in these hospitals that our team visits and conducts chemotherapies.
Any further questions?
Please contact us on our toll-free number 1800-120-2676 and one of our experienced digital coaches will answer any further queries.