What is targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets proteins that influence how cancer cells grow, divide, and spread. It is the foundation of accurate medicine.
As researchers discover more about the DNA changes and proteins that cause cancer, they are reasonably able to develop treatments that target these proteins.
What are the types of targeted therapy?
Most targeted treatments are either small-molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies.
- Small – molecule drugs are tiny enough to penetrate cells easily, so they are utilized for targets that are inside cells.
- Monoclonal antibodies, also known as therapeutic antibodies, are proteins created in the lab. These proteins are developed to attach to precise targets found on cancer cells. Some monoclonal antibodies mark cancer cells so that they will be better seen and eradicated by the immune system. Other monoclonal antibodies directly prevent cancer cells from developing or cause them to self-destruct. Still, others maintain toxins in cancer cells.
Who is treated with targeted therapy?
For a few types of cancer, most patients with that cancer will have a target for a particular medication, so they can be treated with that medication. But, most of the time, your tumor will require to be tested to see if it includes targets for which we have medications.
Testing your cancer for targets that could aid you and your doctor choose your treatment is called biomarker testing.
You may need to have a biopsy for biomarker testing. A biopsy is a process in which your doctor extracts a piece of the tumor for testing. There are some risks to having a biopsy. These risks differ depending on the extent of the tumor and location. Your doctor will clarify the risks of having a biopsy for your type of tumor.
How does targeted therapy work against cancer?
Most types of targeted therapy help cure cancer by inhibiting specific proteins that help tumors to grow and spread throughout the body. They treat cancer in several ways. They can:
- Help the immune system destroy cancer cells: One reason that cancer cells grow is that they can hide from your immune system. Some targeted therapies can mark cancer cells that’s why it is more comfortable for the immune system to find and destroy them. Other targeted therapies help strengthen your immune system to work better against cancer.
- Stop cancer cells from growing: Healthy cells in your body usually divide to make new cells only when they receive strong signals to do so. These signals bind to proteins on the cell surface, telling the cells to divide. This process helps new cells form only as your body needs them. But, some cancer cells have changes in the proteins on their surface that tell them to divide whether or not signals are present. Some targeted therapies interfere with these proteins, preventing them from telling the cells to divide. This process helps slow cancer’s uncontrolled growth.
- Stop signals that help form blood vessels: Tumors need to form new blood vessels to grow beyond a particular size. In a process called angiogenesis, these new blood vessels develop in response to signals from the tumor. Some targeted therapies called angiogenesis inhibitors are designed to interfere with these signals to stop a blood supply from forming. With no blood supply, tumors stay small. Or, if a tumor already has a blood supply, these therapies can cause blood vessels to die, which forces the tumor to shrink.
- Deliver cell-killing: substances to cancer cells. Some monoclonal antibodies are aligned with toxins, chemotherapy drugs, and radiation. Once these monoclonal antibodies bind to targets on the surface of cancer cells, the cells bring up the cell-killing substances, forcing them to die. Cells that don’t have the target will not be affected.
- Cause cancer cell death: Healthy cells die in a tidy manner when they become damaged or are no longer required. But, cancer cells have modes of avoiding this dying process. Some targeted therapies can induce cancer cells to go through this process of cell death.
- Starve cancer of the hormones it needs to grow: Some breast and prostate cancers need certain hormones to thrive. Hormone treatments are a type of targeted therapy that can work in two ways. Some hormone therapies stop your body from making explicit hormones. Others control the hormones from acting on your cells, including cancer cells.
Are there disadvantages to targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy does have some disadvantages. These include:
- Cancer cells can become invulnerable to targeted therapy. For this reason, they may work best when utilized with different types of targeted therapy or with further cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
- Medications for some targets are hard to create. Reasons include the target’s structure, the target’s role in the cell, or both.
What are the side effects of targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy can also cause side effects. The side effects depend on the type of targeted therapy you acquire and how your body responds to the therapy.
The most typical side effects of targeted therapy include diarrhea and liver problems. Other side effects include problems with blood clotting and wound recovery, high blood pressure, fatigue, mouth ulcers, nail changes, hair color loss, and skin problems. Skin problems include rash or dry skin.
There are treatments for many of these side effects. These medications may prevent the side effects from occurring or treat them once they occur. Most side effects of targeted therapy go out after treatment ends.
Looking for targeted therapy in Pune?
Dr. Pratik Patil is the best oncologist in Pune with experience of more than 10 years.He has special interests in chemotherapy treatment. For more information about cancer and treatment options, or to book an appointment with the Cancer Specialist in Pune call +91 9637439163 or Click on Book Appointment for online booking.