Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the world, so scientists and doctors do not get tired to look for ways to overcome it. One of the very effective ways of dealing with cancer disease today is a targeted therapy. What is its essence, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment?
What is targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a treatment of cancer patients on the basis of principles of molecular medicine. Its essence in the following: special drugs block the growth of cancer cells through intervention in the mechanism of action of specific target (targeted) molecules necessary for tumor growth.
The drugs that are prescribed to the patient, operate at the molecular level, inhibiting the mechanism of development of malignant neoplasms. Using targeted therapy can affect not only the tumor but also metastasis, which is a real breakthrough in cancer treatment. Metastases under the influence of drugs ceases to grow, and then disappear completely. The goal of targeted therapy is to target only cancer cells without affecting healthy, so the body usually tolerates it much better than traditional chemotherapy. Target in English means aim, target.
As already noted, the main difference targino therapy from chemotherapy in that it does not affect healthy cells. This is a great advantage of the method, because the patient usually normally takes treatment of. But that’s not to say that targeted therapy is completely harmless to the body. It has a number of side effects.
Side effects of targeted therapy
Even despite the fact that targeted therapy is less toxic than chemotherapy, it may have the following side effects:
- Liver disease (until the development of hepatitis).
- Skin rashes, acne.
- High blood pressure.
- Problems with blood clotting.
- Chronic feeling of fatigue.
- Pain in the joints.
- Violations of reproductive functions.
- Dryness of the skin.
- Changes in the structure of hair and nails.
What can be expected from targeted therapy in the future?
Targeted therapy doctors around the world consider to be one of the most advanced cancer treatments. It gives hope for a full recovery of cancer patients not only at an early stage of the disease. With the help of targeted therapies today can be successfully overcome cancer third and even fourth stage, as certain drugs are effectively fight not only tumors, but also metastases. Now it is best targeted therapy treats cancer of the kidneys, liver, skin (melanoma), colon, and breast. It is also noted certain progress in the treatment of thyroid cancer, which generally responds poorly to drug therapy.
Scientists are not resting on our laurels and are working to improve existing drugs, develop new, more effective and less harmful to the body. For this purpose many clinical studies, explores the features and capabilities of molecular medicine.
Targeted therapy is one of the main hopes of mankind to fully overcome cancer. Its main drawback at present is the relatively high cost drugs that are for many patients unaffordable. Also, unfortunately, don’t work on all forms of cancer. In addition, note that targeted therapy for the treatment of oncological diseases have begun to use not so long ago, and thus all of its possible side effects, especially in the long term, are not fully understood. However, by far the single – targeted therapy brings hope to patients with cancer in the future.