Chemistry can and does help fight cancer.
There are over 200 different types of cancer. No one chemical is effective against them all. Some chemicals must be given in combination.
Here are just three recent developments in the chemical fight against cancer.
Doctors have used cisplatin since 1978 to treat testicular, ovarian, lung, and bladder cancers.
In March 2014, researchers showed that anchoring aspirin to cisplatin overcomes resistance to cisplatin and makes it ten times more effective.
In April 2014, chemists designed nanoparticles that can target ovarian cancer tumors. They can deliver three cancer drugs at a time in precise ratios. The nanoparticles then release those drugs in response to distinct triggering mechanisms.
Various fungi secrete chemicals that have anticancer activity, but in amounts too small to be useful. Chemists isolate these compounds, determine their structures, and measure their activities. Then they add or remove certain chemical groups to make them more active.
In February 204, one group of chemists reported that they made over sixty of these compounds. The effective compounds are 1000 times more selective toward cancer cells than to healthy blood cells.