Targeted therapy for Cancer: Will it be lifesaving?

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Is targeted therapy for cancer a miraculous lifesaver?

What do you feel when you see this title? People still get confused and become frightened whenever they hear about cancer. What is cancer?

Cancer means “uncontrolled growth”. To clarify, uncontrolled division of cells abnormally in a part of your body. It is a life-threatening condition. Also, it has another term “tumor”. A tumor is an abnormal group of body cells, with increased growth. They do not obey the normal cellular controllers. Cells grow freely. When they should die they do not die.

Among different treatments, targeted therapy for cancer has become popular. It is because of numerous effective results and more reasons like fewer side effects etc.

In 2021, studies show various common types of cancers and their estimated new cases rapidly go high. According to the National Cancer Institute, they use 40,000 cases or more of specific cancer types to label as a common cancer type. It records,

  • Estimated Breast Cancer – 281,550
  • Colon and Rectal (Colorectal) Cancer – 149,500
  • Bladder Cancer – 83,730
  • Kidney Cancer – 76,080
  • Leukemia (All Types) – 61,090, etc.
cancer cases in 2021, targeted therapy for Cancer

As people live longer, Cancer is becoming a popular disease. Diagnosing processes identify more and more cancer cases rapidly. In 2030, it is estimated to have 13 million cancer deaths worldwide. In this article, you’ll get to know the essential facts on Cancer and Targeted therapy for Cancer, and so on. So, keep reading, you’ll be surprised how this disease impacts our lives.

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Targeted therapy for Cancer: targeted therapy definition

Targeted therapy for cancer is an effective treatment method becoming popular. Targeted therapy definition explains it as the use of drugs or other agents to selectively identify and attack specific types of cancer cells. Drugs use specific molecules such as proteins as targets in this treatment.

Targeted therapy for cancer is a building block for precision medicine. This method is used for many types of cancers, for example,

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Head cancer
  • Neck cancer etc.

There are specific proteins that control the growth, division, and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapy drugs attack those proteins and ultimately stop the process of cancer. This is the usual method of attacking cancer cells.

Furthermore, let’s discuss cancer, targeted therapy for cancer, and how it is involved in the treatment procedure.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is becoming a global threat to health. As mentioned before, many new cancer patients are identified regularly. Thousands of cells need to develop cancer. Normally human cells are controlled under a process of development. After cells damage or become old, the cells die. This is programmed cell death. After That new cells appear. But, cancer cells do not obey this process. They divide and grow free from those normal control mechanisms.

Cancer is a tumor, but not all tumors are cancerous. A tumor is a collection of cells. It can be developed at any place in the body. There are two types of tumors.

  1. Benign tumors – these are not cancerous cells. They do not invade other tissues thus stay at the original site.
  2. Malignant tumors – these become cancerous. They can invade other tissues using a process called metastasis. they break into new pieces and cause new tumors.

In summary, cancer cells are different from normal body cells in various ways.

Normal human cellA Cancer cell
Grow according to the growth signals onlyThey can grow independently from those signals
It obeys the normal cell death processes. For instance, they undergo programmed cell death.Cancer cell ignores such processes
This does not move around the body and stay at one siteSpreads to other tissues and deposit at new sites
Do not promote the development of new blood vessels towards them  Signal to grow new blood vessels towards them. Cancer cells get nutrients, oxygen, and life support from those new blood vessels.
Eliminated by the immune systemCan hide from the human immune system and prevents protective mechanisms
Cells in one tissue, have the same shape and sizeCancer cells differ in shape and size from each other
They have normal cell markers onlyThey have increased expression of certain cell markers
 targeted therapy for Cancer

What are the common types of Cancer in the present world?

According to the Global Cancer Statistics, in the year 2020, the most common types of cancer are as follows,

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer (Colon and Rectal cancers come together)
  • Liver Cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Prostate cancer

In addition,

  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Myeloid cancer

Among all cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the US. The second and third most common types of cancers are prostate and lung cancers respectively.

How to decide how bad the cancer is? Cancer Staging

After diagnosing using different methods, physicians decide the stage of the cancer progression. Diagnosing methods are highly different. Maybe it has very mild activity by now, but can be more harmful to the body later. Most cancers are tumors that have five stages.

  1. Stage 0 cancer – this means no cancer, or there are only abnormal cells. But these cells have the power to become cancer cells soon maybe. This is a cancer in-situ stage.
  2. Stage 1 cancer – cancer is around only one area. It is just small cancer. This is early-stage cancer.
  3. Stage 2 and 3 cancer – by now, the cancer is large enough to spread to nearby tissues or blood.
  4. Stage 4 cancer – cancer already spread to different areas of the body. This is the worst stage, in other words, metastatic cancer.

Current treatment approaches for Cancer

Among the different types of treatments available, patients get the most suitable treatment for them. Some may get a single treatment while some may get combinations of two or more treatments. In today’s world, continuous clinical trials are ongoing to find new drugs to evaluate the efficacy of current treatments and so on. Available effective cancer treatments are,

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Stem cell transplant

Targeted Therapy review

Targeted therapy for cancer is a novel treatment. It uses effective drugs which can find certain targets or biomolecules and attack and destroy them. Those targets are proteins. The proteins can promote cancerous tumor growth and progression. So, as described before, targeted drugs specifically find those proteins and destroy them. Ultimately, it will stop the progression of cancer into a dangerous state. Ligand targeted therapy for cancer provides effective identification of specific target molecules. It improves the selective toxicity of anticancer drugs. Targeted therapy for cancer indicates and attacks only to precise targets and causes fewer side effects.

How targeted therapy helps to treat cancer?

Targeted therapy has its own method to block cancer progression. First, the drug molecules recognize the target proteins. Second, they bind to them and destroy them, blocking the growth and progression of the tumor. Other than that, there are several methods to fight against cancer cells.

  • Stop the growth of the cancer cells

Cancer cells need signal molecules to provide the starting signal for growth. Signal molecules are proteins. These proteins bind to the surface of the cells hence, cells start to grow. Targeted drug molecules interfere with those proteins and prevent the signaling process.

  • Usage of immune system function for destroying cancer cells

Some targeted therapy drugs can mark certain cancer cells. So, the immune system can easily find those cells and kill them. A unique feature of cancer cells is they can hide from the immune system. Hence, targeted molecules should have the ability to find those cells specifically.

  • Stop development of new blood vessels

        Targeted therapy for cancer focuses on this important step of metastasis. Metastasis will be discussed later in this article further. So, keep reading. The growth of new blood vessels or Angiogenesis is a crucial step of metastasis. They provide every support for the progress of cancer. Angiogenesis inhibitors interact with signal molecules which lead to forming new blood vessels. Without the blood supply cancer cells cannot live.

  • Promotes cancer cell death

Certain targeted therapies for cancer can induce cancer cell death. Normal control system cannot push cancer cells towards programmed cell death like normal cells. So, this causes quick removal of cancer cells.

  • Introduce cell-killing substances into cancer cells

Monoclonal antibodies do perform this activity by binding to receptors on cancer cells. Then they promote the entry of toxic molecules that can cause death. Monoclonal antibodies do this together with chemotherapeutic drugs, toxins, and radiation.

  • Prevents contact of hormones they need to grow

       Breast cancer is an example of cancer that needs hormones to develop. Actually, hormonal therapy is a kind of targeted therapy. They block the activity of hormones using two methods. Either, they prevent the production of those hormones or they block the activity of cells. 

FDA approved cancer targeted therapy drugs

There are two main types of cancer targeted therapy drugs which are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved.

  1. Monoclonal Antibodies
  2. Small molecules

Drugs used in targeted therapy are mostly Tyrosine kinase inhibitors(TKI), monoclonal antibodies(mAbs), interfering RNA (iRNA), and microRNA.

Monoclonal Antibodies – they have an immunoglobulin structure. They target specific antigens on the cell surface which are transmembrane receptors and extracellular growth factors. These are synthetic molecules. Some of them can mark those cancer cells so the immune system can easily recognize and kill those cells.

The earliest targeted therapies for cancer are antibodies that are directed against the cell surface markers. Those markers are CD20, CD33, CD52, which are present in lymphoma and leukemia cells.

For example,

  • Rituximab – target drug against CD20
  • Bevacizumab – human originated mAb. This comes up with the circulatory system target-VEGF-A.
  • Ipilimumab – full human antibody

Targeted monoclonal antibodies have developed rapidly over the past years because of the improvement of biotechnology.

Small molecules – these are developed mainly to interact with the enzymatic activity of target proteins. Their size is enough to enter into the cells, that’s why the name says small molecules. They act inside the cells. Include drug classes are,

Drug classDescriptionExamples for approved drugs
Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKI)Drugs that block the tyrosine kinase enzyme activity.   Tyrosine Kinase is an important modulator that leads to cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, metabolism, and programmed cell death.    Imatinib BosutinibDasatinibNilotinibPonatinib  
Bruton kinase inhibitors (BKI)This presents inside cells.   Important TK member.   Involve in B-lymphocyte development, differentiation, and signaling.   This is essential for both normal and malignant cells.Ibrutinib Idelalisib
Aurora Kinase Inhibitors (AKI)AKIs regulate the cell cycle.   This group consists of serine/threonine kinases   In humans, there are three types of Aurora Kinases namely, Aurora-A, Aurora-B, and Aurora-C.   AKI inhibits the cell cycle and prevents cancer progression.AlisertibDanusertibAT9283Barasertib
Proteasome InhibitorsThis is the latest target biomolecule for targeted therapy for cancer   The Proteasome is a protein complex   It destroys damaged proteins   It has an essential role in cell signaling, cell cycle progression, and cell survival   Because of these reasons, Proteasome inhibitors are major drugs for lymphoid cancersBortezomibCarfilzomib
Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors (HDAC inhibitors)Histone deacetylation and acetylation regulate gene expression.   This process is important for the transcription of genetic material.   Histone deacetylase modulates gene silencing since it helps the deacetylation process   These are beneficial however, the usage is low.   Still, several studies are ongoing to identify the drug effects.VorinostatRomidepsinPanobinostatBelinostat
Target therapy drug classes

What is the difference between Small Molecules (SM drugs and Monoclonal Antibodies?

QualitymAbSM
Size~,150,000 daltons~400 daltons
Route of administrationIntravenous (by injection)Oral (by mouth) except few molecules, for example, Bortezomib
ProductionProduce using bioengineering methods, expensiveLess expensive techniques
CostHighLow
Target focusTarget must be extracellularBoth extra/ intracellular targets
ToxicityLow toxicityMid-high toxicity
How does it work?Blocks ligand-receptor or receptor-receptor interactions, promotes apoptosis, and receptor downregulationThey bind to target kinases, inhibit phosphorylation, and promotes apoptosis
Success rate18%-24%5%
Half-lifeDays to weeks<72 hours
MetabolismMetabolized by circulating phagocytic cells or by their target antigen-containing cellsMetabolized by CYP450 enzymes family in the liver
Administration times per dayOnce every one to four weeksShould take daily
Difference between Small Molecules drugs and Monoclonal Antibodies

Types of targeted therapy in cancer

There are many types of cancer targeted therapy. Physicians use these therapies according to the disease condition patients have. Patients might get one therapy or combination. This classification uses the function of various targeted therapy drugs. The most commonly used types of cancer targeted therapies are,

  • Hormonal therapy
  • Signal transduction therapy
  • Gene expression modulators
  • Apoptosis inducers
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors
  • Immunotherapies
  • Monoclonal antibodies that deliver toxic molecules
  • Cancer vaccines and gene therapy (sometimes considered as targeted therapy)

Although targeted therapy has become widely used in the field, some patients are not allowed to get this.

What are the cancers we can use targeted therapy?

Among more than about 100 types of cancers, the U.S. FDA or Food and Drug Administration has approved certain cancer types suitable for targeted therapy.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Lymphoma

Is targeted therapy for cancer more effective than traditional therapies?

Targeted therapy for cancer became a hope for a cure. Of course, it has interesting features and benefits when compared with the traditional treatments we have now. For instance, chemotherapy and radiation, etc.

Cancer drugs have three main categories, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. The drugs in targeted therapy can specifically identify the target they should kill. They attack only those cells, but not the others. So, unlike chemotherapy, they do not harm other tissues near the tumor. Hence, this produces really very few side effects.

When focusing on how targeted therapy treats cancer, it uses various methods. In contrast, traditional chemotherapy uses the cellular processes of cancer cell growth.

Regardless of those specialties, we cannot exactly say, targeted therapy is the best. Well, as you know, every Cancer has its own unique genetic variations. Of course, targeted therapy has shown many benefits over other traditional therapies. However, in certain cancers, physicians do not use this and the responses of patients are different. Let’s take an example, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is a type of blood cancer. Oncologists do use targeted therapy for cancer, in this case, because they know the target correctly. So, as you thought, drugs attack the target and kill it. The patient can live just as a normal person. It is the ultimate result. They know in CML targeted cancer therapy has 89% positive results instead of chemotherapy.

But, why is targeted therapy not always useful? Why, well, according to clinical oncologists sometimes they do not know the exact target of specific cancers. Or, they don’t know the target is the actual cause for that cancer. In these cases, we cannot say targeted therapy is the best for all cancers. Likewise, it may not be a permanent cure.

Targeted precision therapy

First, let’s look at what precision medicine is. Precision medicine describes the usage of treatments based on highly specified individual data including lifestyle, genetic information, clinical, and certain biomarkers. This is becoming a very popular topic rapidly.

Using targeted precision therapy for cancer gives better results continuously. Precision medicine experts, genetic counselors, and supportive healthcare workers together do a great job to make this system successful. Once the patient has been identified with cancer, they have to meet the specialists on genetics. Then those experts do tests to recognize the cause or the genetics and their behaviors responsible for that cancer. After That, they can decide the best treatment plan and future preventive methods for that particular patient.

This has become an evolution and oncologists are encouraged to the more usage of precision medicine. They create tailored plans unique to each patient. They use the data according to

  • individual’s genetic makeup
  • new technologies in pharmacogenomics
  • big data analysis
  • artificial intelligence
  • biomarker testing.

Precision targeted therapy for cancer provides not only the best care plan for the patient but also the best cure for them. Moreover, it improves the quality of life.

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Advantages of targeted therapy

Traditional chemotherapy attacks the cellular pathways of cancer cell development. So, they can attack normal cells. They can harm normal cells in the mitotic stage. In contrast, targeted therapy blocks specifically the division of tumor cells. Targeted therapy for cancer can identify the actual molecules and they destroy only those sources. Overall, targeted therapy inhibits the progression and growth of the tumor. In a similar manner, cancer targeted therapy has many more benefits.

  • Less toxic to non-cancerous cells
  • fewer side effects on non-cancer cells hence less blockage in daily activities
  • Due to reduced toxicity targeted therapy can be given to patients with poor performance, who cannot get cytotoxic therapies
  • High specificity
  • In some cases, targeted therapy can increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy as well

Does targeted therapy for cancer cause hair loss?

Unlike traditional chemotherapy, targeted cancer therapy works on more specific targets. Moreover, it has some effects on the skin, nails, and hair. Although targeted therapy has fewer side effects they have an important impact on certain molecules essential to normal skin health. For example, they can attack epidermal growth factor receptors(EGFR). EGFR has worked not only on cancer cell growth but also in the normal growth of hair, nails, and skin.

In the same manner, monoclonal antibodies targeting EGFR produce unwanted effects. These two can cause cutaneous symptoms. In addition, diffuse or partial hair loss may occur with many targeted therapy drugs. However, this condition is reversible and typically nonscarring.

Dermatologists have identified targeted therapy for cancer that causes hair loss and greying in the scalp.

Disadvantages of Targeted therapy?

Despite having many successions of cancer targeted therapy, there have drawbacks as well.

  • Certain patients develop resistance after exposure to targeted cancer therapy. This acquired resistance may be a block to make the therapy effective.
  • Single genetic alterations in tumor cells create the acquired resistance. This can be either before or after treatment.
  • Lack of information on long-term side effects
  • Cost of therapy
  • Targeted therapy for cancer is complex
  • Sometimes even when the drug targets the tumor it may not respond.
  • Targeted therapy does not work unless the tumor has the target
  • New research has shown some lung cancers show no response to treatments that target the mutations of their specific genes responsible for cancer (oncogenic drivers). For example, KRAS-mutated lung cancers.

What are the side effects of targeted therapy?

Although targeted therapy is for causing fewer side effects compared with others, it has some serious side effects

Basically, it has an impact on skin problems.

● Hand-foot syndrome – palms of hands and soles of feet become tender and have
blisters.
● Show sensitivity to sunlight
● Skin becomes dry, flaky, and red
● Rashes that look like acne and pimples on the scalp, upper body.

The most common side effects are Diarrhoea and liver problems

Common side effects,

● Nausea
● Vomiting
● Fatigue/tiredness
● Headache
● Joint aches
● Mouth sores
● Nail changes – color changes, darkened, brittle nails
● High blood pressure
● Easy bruising
● Bleeding
● Ulcerative wounds

Less common side effects,

● Heart problems
● Thyroid problems
● Increase the risk of getting an infection

According to the scientific research on Toxicities of Targeted Therapy and Their Management in Kidney Cancer published in ScienceDirect, tested six targeted agents have produced common side effects such as Hypertension, fatigue, digestive system side effects, bone marrow toxicity, and skin problems.

The targeted drug Sunitinib has caused hypothyroidism. Therefore, healthcare providers always seek methods to manage side effects. Patients have to identify possible side effects and prevent them as they can instead of worrying about them.

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Managing side effects of targeted therapy for Cancer

It is really important to manage the side effects caused by the targeted therapy. This is for better results on your health.

  • Always keep attention to any changes in your body. It may be a small change, but early recognition and management may be important.
  • Keep a record of your health reports, treatment plan, medications you take, certain investigations such as blood reports, radiation reports, etc.
  • Side effects may last from a few weeks to a few months. So, you need to take care of yourself to get the maximum benefit out of the targeted medications.
  • Most targeted therapy medications have effects on the skin. So, be attentive to changes in your skin.
  • For certain side effects, you may need to take additional therapy. Therefore, keep in contact with your doctor.
  • Always tell your doctor if you take any medications for other diseases. Because most targeted therapy medicines interact with common drugs and can cause serious side effects.
  • Some of the side effects may need to be managed differently. You should consult your doctor and get advice on such situations. ( you can pay attention to even small changes)
 targeted therapy for Cancer

What can we do for patient safety in targeted therapy for Cancer?

Regardless, considering cancer targeted therapy causes less harm, your healthcare team will provide much care for you. Consultants accept you and your healthcare provider should follow certain precautions when handling targeted therapy medications. This is for many reasons.

  1. Probably your healthcare team always wears safety clothing, for example, a pair of gloves, protective gown, goggles, covered shoes, face shield, etc. They follow these safety guidelines to prevent them and you from unwanted exposure to medications.
  1. While IV administration you may have a safety pad under your hand to avoid leakages.
  1. Oral administration, you may wear safety gloves when touching the capsules or tablets. You should be careful when handling and storing this medication. Following the proper guidelines is essential.
  1. Drug storage – some drugs may need to be stored in the original container they come in. you may not change the containers unless the manufacturer and/or prescriber.
  1. Drug disposal – you should be aware of how to correctly dispose of the targeted medicines. Sometimes the medicines should be disposed of in the original container. There are certain specific guidelines to properly dispose of drugs. Otherwise, it may harm the environment, animals, and people.
  1. Exposure for family members – Most of the time you may live with your close family members and friends unless your prescriber says you should not. Since with targeted therapy medicines, you may attend to treatment areas alone. This is for the protection of you and your loved ones.
  1. Always consult your healthcare provider and keep updated for better management of the disease.

Do all patients recover from cancer using targeted therapy?

Well, obviously the answer is doubtful. Probably it can be a “No”. Of course, as with many other treatments, targeted therapy for cancer has various impacts on different people. To clarify, even if you feel good after this treatment, other people may not. After all, targeted therapy affects people in many ways. Tolerability and responses to the treatment are highly different.

Your doctor will choose the best therapy based on your disease stage. For example, he may consider the type of cancer, what stage it is, how complex it is, etc. ultimately, your response to the treatment can be successful or not even.

Since people show different responses, it may be hard to say that all patients can recover from cancer after using targeted therapy. However, tested studies have shown most people responded positively.

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What is the success rate of targeted therapy?

The Success rate of targeted therapy is still under evaluation. Although there are many drugs for targeted therapy, all of their success is studying. According to databases, there are not very high success rates. Imatinib is the first drug developed for targeted therapy. It is a small molecule drug that blocks a known gene. The gene is responsible for making tumors. It attacks the activity of a certain protein named BCR-ABL kinase in chronic myeloid leukemia.

When evaluating the success rate of Imatinib for the treatment of CML, the response rate is 90%. In traditional chemotherapy, it is 35%.

You may get confused when seeing this data, so, why is it not successful? Even though these are positive results, many of the latest targeted therapies are not successful as expected. For example, EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Initially, it was going successfully. It was used for the10% of the patients having non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with EGFR-activating mutations. Patients who used Gefitinib performed a higher response rate. They also survive long periods with any progression of cancer.

  • Survival rate -70%
  • Survival time – 11 months

Normal conventional chemotherapy has these data as follows.

  • Survival rate – 30%
  • Survival time – 5 months

You may notice that targeted therapy has performed well, at glance. However, after 2years the disease progresses rapidly in patients who have got targeted therapy. They responded to Gefitinib initially.

Even today several studies are going on to evaluate the success rate of those therapies.

So, Will targeted therapy be a permanent cure?

Targeted therapy for cancer provides relief together with other treatments. For instance, doctors use targeted therapy with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, etc. In addition, there is less usage of targeted therapy even now. so, there is no clue exactly saying targeted therapy provides a complete cure for cancer.

 Is targeted therapy safe for children?

Cancer targeted therapy usage is increasing in pediatric and child cancer patients over time. Doctors use the treatment alone or in combination therapy. After diagnosis with cancer over 80% of children have survived in the USA. This is actually a piece of good news. Other than targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, and also immunotherapy involve cure.

For childhood cancers, doctors use targeted therapy for leukemia and lymphoma successfully. Researches continuously going on to find the specialties in various childhood cancers. Using those results, healthcare teams can select the best therapy for children.

Children show different responses even to the same targeted therapy. Among small molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies, doctors may choose the best treatment. It can be a single or combination therapy.

According to the latest studies, survival rates of children have shown positive results after they receive targeted therapy. They increase their lifetime. Fewer side effects lead to improved quality of life.

Future of pediatric cancer targeted therapy

Scientists are searching for new drug molecules that can be used for targeted therapy in children. Studies are ongoing to find the complex genetic compositions and reasons behind cancers. Scientists and physicians and many more health care professionals are involved in the programs of finding those new drugs. They focused on few side effects, more personalized activity, and precision medicine.

Is targeted therapy better than immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy means the usage of the immune system to treat cancer. Two main ways of immunotherapy,

  1. Immunotherapy therapy treatments use to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells.
  2. Help the immune system either to stop the growth of cancer cells or to prevent spread to other body parts.

Among the various types of immunotherapy, the major ones are,

  • Monoclonal antibodies and tumor agonistic therapy
  • T cell therapy
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Oncolytic virus treatment

When considering the results both immunotherapy and targeted therapy are valuable methods to improve patients’ lives. The thing is, each cancer has its own features. Therefore in various cases, both of these treatments are differently valuable. For example, for cancer patients with EGFR and ALK, targeted therapy is the most successful treatment.

Immunotherapy is a highly tailored and expensive treatment. However, it does not develop resistance towards cancer cells. It produces autoimmune side effects. In summary, both of these treatments are effective in cancer therapy based on the condition.

Targeted therapy vs. chemotherapy

Unlike targeted therapy, chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cells. They attack most cancer cells. Traditional chemotherapy is one of the first-line treatments for many types of cancers. Regardless of its side effects, it has been used for over years. This is because of positive results for many patients. Oncologists use chemotherapy together with other treatments.

One of the drawbacks of chemotherapy is they harm non-cancer cells. Because they are toxic to most cells, they can destroy healthy cells also. This leads to more side effects.

But both of these treatments are useful for optimum treatment. Since no evidence only targeted therapy can provide a complete cure for cancer, we cannot remove chemotherapy. Doctors still widely use chemotherapy for cancer despite its disadvantages.

Palliative Care with Targeted Therapy for Cancer

Palliative care is a treatment procedure that doctors use to manage physical and mental feelings in cancer patients. Palliative care does not try to cure the disease. This therapy provides optimum results even though it helps to get the desired outcome from other medical treatments.

For example,

  • Giving medicines to reduce pain
  • Radiation therapy to reduce pain
  • Chemotherapy and targeted therapy
  • Mental support for overcoming pain

According to the patient’s needs, a suitable environment has been provided. The main aim is to manage cancer pain effectively. While targeted therapy tries to cure and manage the disease progression, patients can use palliative care support.

Health care workers in those caring units have gained special instructions and training on how to treat patients carefully. They are willing to serve their maximum service to improve patients’ lives.

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How will be the future of cancer targeted therapy?

Nanoparticle usage and its effectiveness in targeted therapy

Over the past years, cancer treatments have rapidly improved. New treatments are continuously entering into clinical usage. Among them, the usage of nanoparticles in targeted therapy is one of the popular entities.

Cancer Nanotechnology is currently under extensive studies. Scientists study various biocompatible nano molecules that can be useful for cancer treatments. In addition, they may be useful for cancer precision medicine as well.

When focusing on biomolecule targeted therapy, the nanoparticles link with ligands, such as small molecules, or peptides and monoclonal antibodies. The nanosized particles of these molecules can treat cancer with high affinity and specificity. Intending to reduce the side effects of medications, nanoparticle usage has more good results. They can specifically identify the target and attack them. Therefore, they do not harm healthy cells.

Oncologists use nano-based medicine for the treatment of various cancer types. For example, for breast cancer nanoparticles work like a miracle. They carry the specific drug to the target by

  • Improving the circulation time
  • Increase bioavailability
  • Deliver the gene regulators correctly.

Certain studies have shown the value of multifunctional nanoparticle probes for targeted therapy for cancer. Furthermore, recent studies have found the importance of using silica-based nanoparticles for cancer-targeted therapy. They focus on particularly mesoporous silica particles(MSNs) for targeting drug delivery in cancer.

In summary, nanoparticle usage provides advanced care for the targeted therapy for cancer. They have shown interesting opportunities for personalized/ individual-based treatment plans, precision therapy for cancer. Thus it will open up a new pathway to improve the quality and hopefully prevent cancer.

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