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WHAT IS TARGETED THERAPY?

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

What is Targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets specific molecules or proteins within cancer cells that are involved in the growth, progression, and spread of the disease. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which attacks all rapidly dividing cells in the body, targeted therapy is designed to specifically target the cancer cells, which can reduce side effects and increase the effectiveness of treatment.


There are several types of targeted therapy, including:

  • Small molecule inhibitors: Drugs that target specific enzymes or proteins within the cancer cell and block their activity.

  • Monoclonal antibodies: Artificial proteins that mimic the immune system's natural antibodies and can help target and destroy cancer cells.

  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors: Drugs that target specific enzymes, called tyrosine kinases, involved in the growth and progression of certain types of cancer.

  • Hormone therapy: Drugs that target hormones involved in the growth and progression of certain types of cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer.

  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors: Drugs that help remove the "brakes" that cancer cells can use to evade the immune system.

Targeted therapy can be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy. It has shown promise in the treatment of several types of cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer, and some types of brain tumours.



Photo credit: Everyday Health


However, it is not a cure for all cancers, and not all patients respond to targeted therapy. Additionally, like all medical treatments, targeted therapy can have side effects, and it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider.


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