India 01 September 2016: Targeted therapy which is different from traditional chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs. The drugs known as targeted therapy help stop cancer from growing and spreading. They work by targeting specific genes or proteins. The genes and proteins are found in cancer cells or in cells related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells.
The drugs that are used are like Avastin, Herceptin and Erbitux.These drugs are used in treatments that include surgery and radio therapy apart from treating cancerous cells. These therapies include hormone therapy, signal transduction inhibitors, gene expression modulators, apoptosis inducer, angiogenesis inhibitors, and immunotherapy and toxin delivery inhibitor.
Targeted therapy blocks the growth of cancer cells by interfering with specifictargeted molecules needed for carcinogenesis and tumour growth, rather than by simply interfering with all rapidly dividing.
Many target therapies have been approved in cancer treatments. But this doesn’t work same way as normal chemotherapy treatment.
Also using a drug that works on specific cancer may seem simple but at the same time it is a very complicated one and is not always effective. The following has to be kept in mind before going for the same.
- A targeted treatment will not work if the tumor does not have the target.
- Having the target does not mean the tumor will respond to the drug.
For Eg. These are usually different from traditional chemotherapy effects. For example, patients getting targeted therapy often develop skin, hair, nail, or eye problems.
The Writer is Dr. Meenu Walia the first DNB Medical Oncologist of India and is the Director of Max Oncology Centre at the Max Hospital, Patparganj in New Delhi.