Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy, x-ray therapy, or irradiation) is the use of a certain type of energy (called ionizing radiation) to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy injures or destroys cells in the area being treated (the “target tissue”) by damaging their genetic material, making it impossible for these cells to continue to grow and divide. Although radiation damages both cancer cells and normal cells, most normal cells can recover from the effects of radiation and function properly. The goal of radiation therapy is to damage as many cancer cells as possible, while limiting harm to nearby healthy tissue.
Our cells are constantly dividing, and as they do, the DNA molecule - our genetic code - sometimes gets broken. DNA has twin strands, and a break in both is considered especially dangerous.
Like any cells in the body, cancer cells need sugar - namely glucose - to fuel cell proliferation and growth. Cancer cells in particular metabolize glucose at a much higher rate than normal cells.
There are immune cells in our bodies that directly destroy infected or cancer cells - they are called natural killer cells. Recently, a POSTECH research team has developed an integrative cancer therapy using adoptive natural killer cell therapy and chemotherapy.