Targeted therapy is a method of treatment in which medications or other substances are used to precisely identify and attack certain cancer cells. Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that targets proteins that regulate how cancer cells divide, develop, and disseminate.
Some breast cancers are treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab), a medication that inhibits the development of cancer cells.
Targeted cancer therapies are sometimes also known as "molecularly targeted drugs," "molecularly targeted therapies," or "precision medicines."
Types of Cancer Treated by Targeted Therapy
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
How Are the Targets Found?
The oncologists must first determine their goal before beginning the operation. Certain tests may be able to establish which DNA mutation is causing cancer to behave the way it does.
The following are some of the tests:
- Pathology tests: Tissue, blood, or stool samples are examined. Pathologists can discover possible therapeutic targets by searching for mutant proteins.
- Advanced genomic testing: This test examines a tumor's genetic profile for particular alterations that could influence the tumor's development, progression, or other characteristics.
- Genetic testing: These tests can tell if a patient has a cancer-causing inherited gene mutation.
Several factors, like clinical considerations and personal preferences, influence how and where targeted medications are administered to cancer patients. They can be given in any of the following ways:
- Orally: Ingested by mouth in the form of a pill, capsule, or liquid.
- By infusion: A drip into a vein, muscle, or beneath the skin.
- By drip: Using an intravenous drip, the medication is injected into a vein.
Small and large molecular medications are two types. They work by targeting a specific substance inside the cell and blocking it.
- Small molecule medications, which are small enough to enter a cancer cell once they have been identified. They function by identifying and inhibiting a specific chemical within the cell.
- Drugs with large molecules that can't fit into a cell. They function as a "lock and key" because the molecule acts as a key, unlocking the enzyme or protein on the cell's surface. The medicine works because the key fits into the lock.
Types of Target Therapy Available
- Hormone therapy: Hormone therapies work by either stopping the body from manufacturing hormones or interfering with the hormones' actions.
- Signal transduction inhibitors: These interrupt cell signals, causing the cancer cell's behavior to change.
- Apoptosis inducers: Apoptosis is one of the body's ways of getting rid of unwanted or abnormal cells, but cancer cells have developed ways to escape it. Apoptosis inducers can work around these mechanisms and cause cancer cells to die.
- Angiogenesis inhibitors: These prevent the growth of new blood arteries that feed and nourish cancer cells (a process called tumor angiogenesis).
- Gene expression modulators: They alter the action of proteins involved in gene regulation.
- Immunotherapies: This type of treatment works by causing the immune system to attack cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies identify specific chemicals on the surface of cancer cells and are used as immunotherapies.
- Monoclonal antibodies: Monoclonal antibodies can precisely kill cancer cells by delivering harmful chemicals.
Follow Up After Procedure
- Get enough rest. Because after the therapy, patients experience more tiredness. So it is important to make sure you take plenty of rest.
- Eat a balanced, nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals you need.
- Treat the skin that is exposed to radiation with extra care, like cleaning the treated area with warm water and mild soap, avoiding using cosmetics, and trying to stay out of the sun.
- Follow the doctor's instructions, and speak to your doctor immediately if you develop a fever of 101° or above.
Target Treatment Side Effects
Diarrhea and liver issues are two major side effects of targeted therapy. Dry or flaking skin, rashes, split fingernails or cuticles, decreased blood clotting or wound healing, weariness, and other side effects are possible.
The doctor will give you a physical exam and ask you how you are feeling to determine your recovery rate. Medical tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, and various sorts of scans, will be performed on you. You must visit the doctor frequently during therapy to determine whether the treatment is effective.
Most side effects resolve over time after treatment ends, and the healthy cells recover. Recovery rate may vary from person to person depending on many factors, including your overall health and the medicines you were given.