Study: Chemo can backfire, make cancer worse

A nurse prepares a chemotherapy machine at the Cancer Institute of Singapore at the National University Hospital in Singapore, Wednesday April 18, 2007. Smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy foods , all linked to various cancers, will combine with larger populations and fewer deaths from infectious diseases to drive Asian cancer rates up 60 percent by 2020, some experts predict. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

August 6, 2012 3:34:47 PM PDT
Chemotherapy fights many cancers, but now British scientists believe chemo can actually make it harder for healthy cells to battle the disease.

Researchers found that chemotherapy can cause healthy, wound-healing cells around tumors to "go rogue" and produce a protein that helps the cancer resist chemo. About 90 percent of patients develop chemo resistance when being treated for cancers that can spread, such as breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers.

That study appears in the journal "Nature Medicine."