Cynthia's Interests


The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Liquid Plumber: AZT

AZT was developed in the 1960s as a chemotherapy for leukemia because of its toxicity for human cells. It's known as a "nucleoside analog" drug, or DNA chain terminator, which means it stops the molecule from duplicating. It kills cells that try to reproduce.

The idea for cancer treatment is that a short, shock program of maybe two or three weeks will kill the tumor while only half-killing the patient, and then you get him off it as quickly as possible. You can't take something like that four times a day indefinitely and expect to live. (Although some people don't metabolize it but pass it straight through; hence the few long-term AZT survivors that are pointed at to show how benign it is).

Chemotherapies are notoriously immunosuppressive. The "side effects" look just like AIDS. Officially acknowledged effects of nucleoside analog drugs include diarrhea, dementia, lymphoma (cancer), muscle wasting, and T-cell depletion, which are also AIDS-defining conditions.

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