Before getting to know in detail about targeted therapies and how promising they are, it is important to know what these therapies are. Targeted cancer therapies are basically drugs or other chemicals given to the patient to target and destroy the or block the growth of cancer cells. The targeted therapies work by interfering with specific molecules which are involved in growth, spread and progression of the disease. Targeted cancer therapies are also known with names like “molecularly targeted drugs,” “precision medicines,” or “molecularly targeted therapies”.
Working of targeted therapies
Targeted therapies use drugs that block or manipulate the chemical signals which direct the cancer cells to grow and spread.
The alter the proteins of cancer cells and this kills the cancer cells
The drugs from these therapies stop the production of new blood vessels that feed the cancer cells
The drugs from the therapies strengthen the immune system and give it the power to kill the cancer cells
The best thing about targeted therapies is that they kill/harm only the cancer cells. They don’t harm the normal cells.
Difference between targeted therapies and chemotherapy
Though the targeted therapies sound just like chemotherapies, because of their involvement of a drug, the two therapies are much different. Some of the differences are:
- The standard chemotherapies are targeted at destroying both rapidly dividing normal as well as cancerous cells. At the same time, targeted therapies act the molecular targets associated with cancer.
- While chemotherapies kill cells, targeted therapies work only on their specific targets.
- While chemotherapies kill the tumor cells (cytotoxic), the targeted drug therapies are used to block the block tumor cell proliferation (cytostatic).
- The targeted therapies come as a foundation for the development of precision medicine, which are future oriented medicines that use a patient’s information such as genes, in order to diagnose and/or treat disease.
Side effects of targeted therapies
Some of the most common side effects of targeted therapies are:
- Skin problems like rashes, acne, changes in hair and nails
- Irregular blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal perforation
- Clotting and bleeding
However, it is important to understand that not everyone encounters side effects due to targeted therapies. The severity of these side effects differ from person to person and from the type of drugs used for the therapy.
Not all the drugs used for targeted therapies are same. While some of these drugs target only a single change in the cancer cells, some of them trigger several different changes. While one drug is extremely strong, the other can be mild. Their affect and the side effects they cause depend on the type of drugs used for the therapy.
The side effects usually go away as the treatment progresses. However, they also depend on several things like, the drugs used, the patient’s immunity levels, etc.
For more information of latest developments in oncology and the best ways to treat cancer, approach our experts at Nanavati. All our professionals are highly experienced and immensely skilled in treating the disease with high precision.