Targeted therapy is a new form of treatment where oncologists prescribe certain precision drugs to patients with cancer. These medicines are made to destroy the specific genes responsible for the growth, division, and expansion of malignant cancer cells. However, in doing so, they try not to harm the remaining healthy cells present in the patients’ bodies. As a result, this cancer treatment causes fewer side effects and ensures the patients’ immunity remains intact. This is in contrast to chemotherapy, which attacks all rapidly expanding cells in the patients’ bodies. Doctors might recommend targeted therapy to their cancer patients when all other treatments fail.
Dr. Paolo Boffetta is an eminent cancer research expert who is originally from Italy but currently resides in America. He specializes in molecular, cardiovascular, genetic, cancer, and diabetes epidemiology. He has made significant contributions to how occupation, alcohol abuse, smoking, and the environment affect cancer development. Throughout his illustrious career, he held important positions in some of the world’s most famous cancer research institutions. These include the American Cancer Society, German Cancer Research Center, Columbia University, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and American Health Foundation. Presently, he is the Associate Director for Population Sciences at The Tisch Cancer Institute.Read more: When is the Right Time to Take Your Whey Protein?
He says patients who have cancer are often anxious to know how targeted therapy works. He explains all cancer cells in their bodies have specific genes or proteins in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). These features distinguish them from normal healthy cells. They tend to grow faster, reproduce, and spread rapidly in comparison to their healthy counterparts. Drugs that doctors prescribe to their cancer patients in targeted therapy attract these differences present in the cancer cells. In doing so, the medicines work to achieve the following objectives:
- Blocking chemical signals responsible for telling the cancerous to grow, multiply and spread,
- Change the proteins present in the cancer cells so that they automatically die out,
- Boost the patients’ immune system to fight and destroy the cancer cells, and
- Stop the cancer cells from developing into the blood vessels,
He further explains that targeted therapy for treating cancer differs from chemotherapy in the following ways:
- Drugs which doctors use targeted therapy affect only cancerous cells unlike those in chemotherapy which damages even healthy ones,
- Targeted therapy drugs block the signals which enable cancer cells to copy themselves, but chemotherapy kills only the existing cancer cells, and
- Targeted therapy results in fewer side effects in patients than chemotherapy.
In the opinion of Dr. Paolo Boffetta targeted therapy is an effective treatment for patients who have cancer. The precision drugs which doctors administer to them attack the specific genes giving rise to cancer cells in their bodies. They even block the chemical signals that enable cancer cells to grow, multiply, and expand. In doing so, the medicines do not harm the healthy cells, unlike chemotherapy. As a result, patients suffer fewer side effects in comparison to chemotherapy. This ensures their immunity remains better to withstand illness and disease better.