Targeted therapy uses drugs to stop cancer from growing and spreading. It does this with less harm to normal cells than other treatments.
Standard chemotherapy works by killings cancer cells and some normal cells, targeted treatment zeroes in on specific targets (molecules) in or on cancer cells. These targets play a role in how cancer cells grow and survive. Using these targets, the drug disables the cancer cells so they cannot spread.
How Does Targeted Therapy Work?
Targeted therapy drugs work in a few different ways. They may:
- Turn off the process in cancer cells that causes them to grow and spread
- Trigger cancer cells to die on their own
- Kill cancer cells directly
People with the same type of cancer may have different targets in their cancer cells. So if your cancer does not have a specific target, the drug will not work to stop it. Not all therapies work for all people with cancer. At the same time, different cancers may have the same target.
To see if a targeted therapy might work for you, your health care provider may:
- Take a tiny sample of your cancer
- Test the sample for the specific targets (molecules)
- If the right target is present in your cancer, then you will receive
Some targeted therapies are given as pills. Others are injected into a vein (intravenous, or IV).