Targeted therapy is a modern method of oncology treatment, which uses innovative drugs to pinpoint the cause of the tumor. Genetic or hormonal disorders (mutations) in cells are often the very reason that caused the onset and growth of a tumor. The task of target therapy is to identify specific mutations on the molecular level and apply the treatment to the tumor itself. In addition, target therapy is easier for the body and for the healthy tissues to handle since it has direct impact on cancer cells.
Features of targeted therapyThe most significant feature of targeted therapy is the use of biological drugs, instead of cytotoxic (as in chemotherapy). During drug exposure on target cells, their growth and division slows down, which later causes destruction of cell membranes and the DNA. Such feature of targeted treatment is due to the compound of drugs using specific enzymes that affect only certain types of cancer cells. Nowadays, scientists have created a variety of drugs for targeted cancer therapy, which affect practically all types of malignant tumors such as:
- breast cancer;
- prostate tumors;
- melanomas and others.
Areas of targeted therapy usageTreatment of oncological diseases with the use of targeted drugs is prescribed in several cases:
- If the tumor has special molecular-genetic feature, this therapy can become the main one during treatment.
- This therapy can also be used in the combination with chemotherapy, which helps to minimize the dosage of toxic drugs;
- To prevent the formation of metastases in the progression of the tumor process;
- In the case of a severe disease course with concomitant pathologies which can’t be treated with an operation nor chemotherapy.
Advantages and disadvantages of targeted therapyTreatment of cancer with targeted drugs has several advantages over other methods of cancer therapy:
- Minimum serious side effects.
- Targeting only on a certain type of tumor cells.
- Works in a combination with other methods of oncology treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy).
- A convenient form of drug release (most often it as a pill), which can be taken at home.
- High treatment efficiency.