Cancer can be treated through different treatment protocols and one of them is targeted therapy. There are certain specific genes and proteins inside the cancer cells that help them to grow and survive. Targeted therapy is a procedure that involves targeting these genes and proteins using drugs to inhibit their growth. This treatment procedure is used to cure various types of cancer such as breast, colorectal, bladder, kidney, lung, and more. It can be prescribed in combination with other cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.
Targeted therapy consists of mainly of two types:
These are also called therapeutic antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are known for blocking a particular target outside the cancer cells. The target can also be in the region surrounding the cancer cells. They work to enhance the efficacy of other cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These antibodies function by preventing cancer cell growth or destroying the cancer cells.
Compounds with a small molecular weight that can modulate biochemical processes for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention are called small-molecule drugs. These drugs can easily enter cells and block not one but numerous proteins responsible for multiplying cancer cells and causing their growth. Hence, small-molecule drugs are used to destroy the targets inside cancer cells, precisely and successfully.
The human body is composed of different types of cells, such as brain cells, skin cells, and blood cells. Each cell type has a specific function to perform. Cancer manifests when the genes in healthy cells start behaving abnormally. This phenomenon is termed ‘genetic mutation’.
To make target therapy effective, researchers determine the specific gene alterations that help cancer cells to grow. This is referred to as the drug’s ‘target’. The target for this type of therapy is usually the proteins present in cancer cells. Drug treatment is developed only after a target is identified.
Targeted drug therapy functions by doing the following :
To evaluate the right type of targeted therapy for a patient, the doctor conducts tests to find out the proteins, genes, and other elements contributing to cancer growth.
FDA has approved the first targeted therapy for lung cancer in 2021. Adult patients having non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in which the tumors have a certain type of genetic mutation called KRAS G12C and have received a minimum of one systematic therapy. Targeted therapy is the first approved treatment for tumors with KRAS mutation. The FDA approved Tabrecta (capmatinib) for treating adult patients with NSCLC.
Oncologists are increasingly turning to targeted therapy as a treatment method due to its high effectiveness over chemotherapy. Up to 80% of patients respond to targeted therapy rather than chemotherapy.
In targeted therapy, drugs are used to "target" cancer cells without affecting normal cells. Typically, cancer cells have changes in their genes that make them different from normal cells. A cell's DNA contains genes that instruct the cell to do certain things. Researchers are studying many new targets and drugs through clinical trials to develop targeted therapies. Targeted therapy is recommended for patients with the following types of cancer: Breast cancer,Lung cancer,Colorectal cancer,Chronic myeloid leukemia, Lymphoma,Melanoma.
Targeted therapy is of two types - monoclonal antibodies and small molecule inhibitors. Both of these are further categorized into different types. Targeted therapy using monoclonal antibodies are:
To slow or stop the growth of a tumor, these drugs reduce the blood supply to the tumor. A variety of proteins linked to blood vessel growth are targeted and stopped.
In cancer cells with high levels of HER2, the growth is uncontrollable. In some targeted therapy drugs, HER2-positive cancer cells are destroyed or their ability to divide and grow is reduced.
CD20 is a protein found on some B-cell leukemias and non-Hodgkin lymphomas that is targeted by these drugs.
Despite being a successful type of cancer treatment, targeted therapy can still have adverse effects. Depending on the medication the patient is taking and how the body reacts, these differ for each individual. While some people experience no side effects, others do experience them
Some common side effects of targeted therapy include the following :
During cancer treatment, one can feel fatigued or completely exhausted. However, it is very different from any fatigue he/she might have as a result of their regular activities. It's crucial to keep in mind that everyone experiences exhaustion differently, therefore no two patients will have the same experience.
Targeted therapy may irritate the skin and cause dry skin, rashes, or nail issues. Additionally, you could encounter itching, hand-foot syndrome, or light sensitivity. The best ways to avoid skin irritation include the following :
Targeted drug therapy may cause one to vomit and feel uneasy or dizzy. This side effect can be managed in the following ways:
Occasionally, diarrhea or loose stools may occur due to targeted treatment. Some ways to manage this are:
Some drugs used in targeted therapy for cancer, including angiogenesis inhibitors, may stop the formation of new blood vessels, raising your blood pressure. Ways to manage this side effect include the following :
The cancer specialists at ACTC in Florida offer outstanding patient care by providing personalized and evidence-based treatment plans tailored to individual patients' needs. We aim to foster a positive environment that focuses on physical and mental health throughout a cancer patient's journey.
One can consult with the ACTC providers listed below:
MD, Hematology & Oncology
MD, Radiation Oncologist
MD, Ph.D., Hematology/ Medical Oncology
MD, Radiation Oncologist
Your form has been sent successfully.