Chemotherapy, a type of cancer treatment that uses drug to destroy cancer cells could be dangerous, says a new study.
The anti-bacterial silver coating used in chemotherapy catheters breaks down the drugs and thus reduces the efficacy of the treatment.
Chemotherapy involves patient receiving medicine through an intravenous catheter. These catheters and an equipment attached to them are treated with silver coating which is antibacterial, to prevent bacterial growth and unwanted infections during a treatment.
The study found that the medicines react with silver and breaks down the drugs, it also creates hydrogen fluoride, a gas that can be harmful to the patients.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) are now studying what happens when different drugs come in contact with this silver coating.
"Chemotherapy drugs are active substances, so it is not hard to imagine that the medicine could react with the silver," said Justin Wells, an associate professor of physics at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
The researchers studied the surface chemistry of , 5-Fluorouracil (5-Fu), one of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs, the interaction between it and the type of silver coating found in the equipment.
"Reactions between chemotherapy drugs and other substances that the drugs come in contact with have never been studied like this before. It has always been assumed that the drugs reach the body fully intact," Wells said.
The researchers found that Graphene can be a good substitute for silver as the drugs do not react with graphene. Graphene has been suggested as a coating for medical equipment and it should be possible to create thin layers of graphene designed for this use.
"We hope that our work will contribute to making cancer treatment more effective," said Wells.