Skip to Main Content

Chemotherapy: New Advances, a New Age

Guest Dr. Khuda Dad Khan discusses breakthroughs in administering chemotherapy to treat cancer. The discovery of the immune system’s role in fighting cancer has driven much research and innovation in cancer treatment in recent years, Dr. Khan says.
Season 11 Episode 1 Length 26:22 Premiere: 09/26/15

Chemotherapy: New Advances, A New Age

For decades, chemotherapy was considered as a necessary evil in cancer treatment — a rigorous, unforgiving practice of subjecting cancer cells and healthy tissue alike to toxic drugs in an all-out effort to eradicate the deadly disease. But now, thanks to innovative research into the ways chemotherapy can work in concert with targeted therapy and even with a patient’s own immune system, chemotherapy as a ‘necessary evil’ has given way to new regard as an effective weapon in the fight against cancer.

In the season debut of Kentucky Health, host Dr. Wayne Tuckson talks with a leading Louisville medical oncologist about exciting new breakthroughs in administering chemotherapy for various forms of cancer.

Harsh Treatment for a Relentless Foe
Khuda Dad Khan, M.D., is an award-winning hematologist and oncologist with Cancer and Blood Specialists in Louisville. Dr. Khan, who has more than 30 years of experience with a concentration in leukemia, says that early in his career, treating cancer with chemotherapy was an imprecise technique.

At its most basic, chemotherapy uses drugs to strike at the core of cancer’s basic process, uncontrolled cell division. Chemotherapy interferes with the mutation of cancer cells, often by targeting the cell’s DNA. Even though traditional chemotherapy disproportionately affects cancer cells, it still harms normal cells when administered, often causing very severe side effects. These include hair loss, skin conditions, and nausea and vomiting. The most serious side effect of chemotherapy is that it hinders the body’s ability to fight infection, due to its tendency to destroy the body’s white blood cells.

Dr. Khan says that many advances have been made in mitigating some of chemotherapy’s side effects. For example, researchers have found a drug that blocks the brain from receiving a distress signal from the gastrointestinal tract, reducing nausea. Other side effects, such as hair loss, remain difficult to treat.

Breakthroughs in Targeted Therapies
The medical community is currently undergoing a rethink on how to best fight cancer through chemotherapy, Dr. Khan says. In many cases, doctors now apply traditional drug combinations in concert with what he calls targeted therapy. Targeted therapy attacks cancer in a more “pinpoint” fashion, and is often based on new discoveries about how protein receptors, enzymes, and other components function in cellular biology.

Dr. Khan offers the example of chronic myelogenous leukemia, a blood disorder formerly treated with high doses of chemotherapy. This ailment used to have a high mortality rate within three to five years of diagnosis. Around 2000, researchers had a breakthrough by locating an enzyme specific to the cancer and devising an antibody to de-activate it.

“For a cell to become cancerous, there are hundreds of thousands of changes taking place,” Dr. Khan says. “But, there are some which are crucial, and we call them driver mutations.”

These driver mutations are what researchers are constantly attempting to locate and target with therapy. Even when they do, many cancers adjust to the targeted therapy and then begin to attack the body again. Dr. Khan likens the process to commuters locating alternate routes when a road is blocked.

Still, much progress has been made, particularly in certain types of cancer. Dr. Khan discusses breakthroughs in lung cancer and melanoma treatment, where researchers have developed drugs that block pathways to cancer growth.

One of the more widely used multi-agent approaches is applied to breast cancer, Dr. Khan says. Oncologists first perform surgery to remove the tumor, and then may administer a combination of traditional chemotherapy, hormone receptors, and antibodies that target specific proteins in the cancer cells.

Enlisting the Immune System
“We were taught that the [body’s] immune system is designed to fight the alien, the foreign,” Dr. Khan says, recalling his instruction in medical school. “Since cancer is part of the self, it would be very difficult for the immune system to attack the cancer. But, this turns out not to be true. In fact, there are enough changes, cancer has enough mutations, the proteins change – so the immune system does recognize even the cancer cells.”

This discovery of the immune system’s role in fighting cancer has driven much research and innovation in cancer treatment in recent years, Dr. Khan says. In particular, oncologists are discovering and overcoming the ways in which cancer actively inhibits or suppresses the immune system at the cellular level.

T-lymphocytes or T-cells, foot soldiers in the immune system’s first line of defense, are crucial in attacking disease and infection. Many cancer tumor cells, however, can de-activate T-cells and in fact cause “programmed cell death” by applying a specific protein to the T-cells. Dr. Khan says that one of the most exciting breakthroughs in recent cancer research is the development of antibodies that overcome this interaction between cancer cells and T-lymphocytes, thus enabling the body’s immune system to resume the fight.

Dr. Khan says that clinical trials for cancer and chemotherapy treatments are constantly ongoing, and that many promising drugs are in the pipeline for FDA approval. With side effects of chemotherapy more manageable than ever before, and innovations in targeted therapy and immunotherapy being advanced, Drs. Khan and Tuckson say that it is crucial for patients to become actively involved in exploring any and all new options for cancer treatment.

Sponsored by:

Connections host Renee Shaw smiling in a gray suit along with the show logo and a "Check Schedule" button.Connections host Renee Shaw smiling in a gray suit along with the show logo and a "Check Schedule" button.

Season 11 Episodes

Oral Health in Rural Kentucky

S11 E27 Length 27:35 Premiere Date 06/19/16

Addiction's Impact on the Family

S11 E26 Length 28:36 Premiere Date 06/05/16

Oral Health for Seniors

S11 E25 Length 27:14 Premiere Date 04/17/16

Complications of Pelvic Surgery

S11 E24 Length 27:45 Premiere Date 04/10/16

Common Eye Disorders

S11 E23 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 04/02/16

Hospice Care

S11 E22 Length 27:53 Premiere Date 03/27/16

Cervical Cancer: A Global Epidemic

S11 E21 Length 27:29 Premiere Date 02/28/16

PTSD: Not Limited to the Military

S11 E20 Length 27:09 Premiere Date 02/21/16

African American Health Care in Louisville

S11 E19 Length 27:26 Premiere Date 02/14/16

Human Trafficking

S11 E18 Length 28:20 Premiere Date 02/07/16

Preterm Infants and Their Care

S11 E17 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 01/31/16

Help for Teenage Parents

S11 E16 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 01/24/16

Health News We Need to Know

S11 E15 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 01/17/16

Diagnosing and Treating Dyslexia

S11 E14 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 01/10/16

The Diabetes Epidemic

S11 E13 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 01/03/16

Cancer in Kentucky: Are We Winning the War?

S11 E12 Length 27:27 Premiere Date 12/27/15

Adult Orthodonture

S11 E11 Length 27:24 Premiere Date 12/20/15

Stress and Adolescence

S11 E10 Length 27:11 Premiere Date 12/13/15

Crohn's Disease and Colitis

S11 E9 Length 27:04 Premiere Date 11/22/15

Advances in Telemedicine

S11 E8 Length 26:14 Premiere Date 11/15/15

Lung Cancer in Kentucky

S11 E7 Length 26:44 Premiere Date 11/08/15

Greater Louisville Medical Society

S11 E6 Length 26:49 Premiere Date 11/01/15

Cervical Disc Surgery

S11 E5 Length 27:03 Premiere Date 10/25/15

Training New Doctors

S11 E4 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 10/18/15

Best Practices for Prenatal Care

S11 E3 Length 27:19 Premiere Date 10/11/15

Knee Replacement

S11 E2 Length 26:28 Premiere Date 10/03/15

Chemotherapy: New Advances, a New Age

S11 E1 Length 26:22 Premiere Date 09/26/15

See All Episodes

caret down

TV Schedules

Jump to Recent Airdates

Upcoming

Supplies Over Seas: Meeting Medical Supply Needs at Home and Overseas

“Supplies Over Seas” is rescuing medical devices, medications, and supplies, shipping them to communities in need, both at home and abroad. Denise Sears, president and C.E.O. of SOS International, talks about the group’s work.

  • Friday December 2, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 2, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 4, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 3, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 4, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 4, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Over-the-Counter Medications: What's Safe and Are They Effective?

The cost of medical care is one reason some people turn to over-the-counter medications that appear to be equivalent to medications that require a prescription. Dr. Angela Sandlin, pharmacy director at Baptist Health La Grange, discusses supplements, minerals, vitamins, and other over-the-counter medications.

  • Sunday December 4, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 4, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 5, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday December 5, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday December 9, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 9, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 10, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Wastewater Surveillance: Community-Wide Swabbing for Infections

Infectious diseases can be tracked using wastewater. Dr. Eric Rouchka discusses wastewater epidemiology.

  • Sunday December 11, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 11, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 12, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday December 12, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday December 16, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 16, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 17, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

Diet and Nutrition: The Halos and Horns of Our Food

Do we have the information to make the best choices when deciding what to eat? Dr. Tuckson discusses the "halos and horns of food" with registered dietician Marianne Smith Edge.

  • Sunday December 18, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 18, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 19, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday December 19, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday December 23, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 23, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 24, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY

COVID-19 and Monkeypox: Deja Vu All Over Again

Dr. Tuckson discusses COVID-19, monkeypox and the resurgence of sexually transmitted diseases with infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Burns.

  • Sunday December 25, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 25, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 26, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday December 26, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday December 30, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 30, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
Jump to Upcoming Airdates

Recent

Supplies Over Seas: Meeting Medical Supply Needs at Home and Overseas - S18 E1

  • Monday November 28, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 28, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 27, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 27, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY

Insects: Most Are Good, But Watch the Bad - S18 E8

  • Sunday November 27, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 27, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 27, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 26, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 25, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 25, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 21, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 21, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Melanomas: The Consequence of Too Much Sun - S18 E7

  • Sunday November 20, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 20, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 19, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 18, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 18, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 14, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 14, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Healthy Practices: Inform, Cajole or Mandate, Whatever Works - S18 E6

  • Sunday November 13, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 13, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 12, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday November 7, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Diverticulosis: Little Pouches, Big Problems - S18 E5

  • Sunday November 6, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 5, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 1:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 4, 2022 12:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday October 31, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Monday October 31, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 5:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 4:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 12:30 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 11:30 am CT on KET

Down Syndrome: Chromosome Number 21 is Just the Beginning - S18 E4

  • Sunday October 30, 2022 9:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 8:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 7:00 am ET on KET2
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 6:00 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday October 30, 2022 12:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 29, 2022 11:30 pm CT on KETKY
Top

Explore KET