Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy, also known as precision medicine or personalized medicine, is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to specifically identify and attack only the cancer cells and mostly leave healthy, normal cells alone. Targeted drugs prevent cancer cells from dividing and making new cancer cells. Targeted chemotherapy can be used by itself or in combination with surgery, radiation, traditional or standard chemotherapy therapy. Targeted therapies are of different types including:

  • Small molecule drugs: They are drugs that are small enough to enter the cancer cells. These drugs block the process of multiplication and spread of the cancer cells. For example, angiogenesis inhibitors devoid the tumours of the nutrients and keep them from multiplying.

  • Angiogenesis inhibitors: Blocks new blood vessel formation that nourishes the cancer cells. 

  • Monoclonal antibodies: They are drugs that specifically target cancer cells and kill them by releasing toxic substances. They are large molecules hence they target the cancer cell surface instead of entering inside the cells.

  • Proteasome inhibitors: Disrupt cell functions to kill cancer cells. 

  • Signal transduction inhibitors: Signal transduction/cell signalling is a process of transmission of chemical signals to start cell action. Signal transduction inhibitors block these pathways and disrupt cell signals to stop the actions of the cancer cell including cell growth and multiplication. Signal transduction inhibitors are the most widely used therapy in cancer treatment. 

Targeted therapies are commonly used in the treatment of: 

  • Breast cancer

  • Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

  • Colorectal cancer

  • Lung cancer

  • Lymphoma

  • Melanoma

  • Mood swings

  • Weight gain

  • Slow metabolism

  • Scanty hair

  • Dry skin

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