In the past, cancer was a disease that could not be cured. It was a threat to mankind. But as science has developed tremendously through all these years, today it is possible to fight cancer.
Cancer therapies have evolved with time. Until the late 90s, most of the drugs worked by killing the cancer cells. Some of the normal cells were also killed by them, but it was acceptable due to the huge effect on cancer cells.
In modern days, targeted therapies are being performed. Targeted therapy is a process of cancer treatment where instead of the cancer cells, the changes in the cells are targeted. Changes that help the cells grow, divide and thus spread cancer have been observed and so researchers can diagnose the right treatment that can block these affects and prevent cancer. This therapy uses drugs and it is different from traditional chemotherapy.
There are two types of Targeted therapy.
- Small-molecule drugs: These drugs are small so that they can enter cells easily and target the changes inside the cells. They are taken as pills. They work by keeping the tissue around the tumor and starve it by stopping blood vessels that bring it nutrients.
- Monoclonal antibodies: These are used to target the outer surface of cancer cells. They work like a plastic plug in an electric socket. They help chemotherapy and radiation therapy to cure cancer cells.
Targeted therapies are used in the fields below
How It Works:
Targeted therapy can be used as a treatment option for cancer in the following ways:
- Destroy cancer cells: Cancer cells hide well from the immune system. This therapy points them out so that the immune system can destroy them. It also boosts the immune system to work better.
- Stop cancer cells growth: This therapy interferes with the proteins that divides the cancer cells and thus controls their growth.
- Kill the tumor: Blood vessels feed the cancer tumor. This therapy surrounds the tumor and stops the blood supply so that the tumor does not grow and remains small. And if the tumor already has blood supply, then it kills the blood vessels and causes the tumor to shrink.
- Deliver cell-killing substances: It delivers the cell-killing substances to the cancer cells. They are the monoclonal antibodies that are combined with chemotherapy drugs, toxins and radiation.
- Cause cancer cell death: Cancer cells avoid the dying process. These therapies cause them to go through the process.
Targeted therapies are less toxic than standard chemotherapy. So it is a better option but it still has some side effects.
- Liver problems
- Skin problems
- Problems with wound healing
- Difficulty with blood clotting
- High blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal perforation
Even though it has some side effects, it is still way better and much more effective than traditional chemotherapy. So, cancer patients are advised to go through this modern-day therapy.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!