How could mustard gas be used as a chemotherapy drug?
Sulfur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas is a chemical that, after inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with eyes or skin, can cause a long winded death (Palermo, 2017). Mustard gas is known as a “vesicant”, other Sulfur based agents are also known as this because of the blistering effect all vesicants create (Heller, 2017). It is usually known for its use in World War 1 and Germany’s use of it within the last century. It’s less known for its chemotherapeutic side effects that could possibly extend many cancer patients’ lives.
Effects on the human body
Sulfur mustard is illustrated by the mixture of ethylene and sulfur dichloride which creates a reaction, the …show more content…
The most noticeable trait is its mustard smell, even though some describe the smell as garlic, horseradish, or sulfur.
Mustard Gas is a blistering agent, meaning the skin gets pus-filled blisters because of the redness and itching that it causes, in addition, mustard gas attacks mucous membranes which makes blisters form in the throat and nose. Victims experience physical symptoms mainly in the eyes, nose and respiratory tract, such as irritation in eyes, temporary blindness, runny nose, coughing, shortness of breath and sinus pain. Other symptoms are due to the digestive tract being affected, these include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, and vomiting.
Victims of mustard gas typically don’t show symptoms until 12 to 24 hours after being subjected to it. However if one is subjected in a small space, or in large amounts the symptoms can show one or two hours after exposure. Mustard gas is not completely lethal, and most victims recover after being exposed. The gas can cause permanent chemical burns or blindness as a result of the long duration of suffering, and it can also cause fatal respiratory diseases or infections. Sulfur Mustard can permanently alter DNA, which means victims who recover are at greater risk of cancer, and pregnant victims are at greater risk of birth defects and infant cancer (Palermo, …show more content…
Nurses treated victims with ointments for the skin and saline solutions for the eyes, a gas mask was invented but the chemical suit was not invented until the end of the First World War which meant the skin was not protected. Even then, manufacturing of the poison weapons never ceased and was used in multiple wars that were a lot smaller than World War 1. These attacks seemed helpful but as they were being conducted, the public’s opinion on using these weapons started to become unpopular, which led to the Geneva Protocol (Hacken, 2009). The protocol states "the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, has been justly condemned by the general opinion of the civilised world.” and multiple countries signed it, including Germany and Austria in 1925.
During World War 2, new poison gases were introduced which were deadlier than sulfur mustard, and despite maintaining large stockpiles neither the Allies or the Axis used any poison gas during combat. Mustard gas has been used in small scales since World War 1, the first time a large scale attack of mustard gas has occurred since the First World War was in Iraq during the 8-year-long Iran-Iraq War 30 years