Targeted therapy is a type of precision medicine. Technically, it’s considered chemotherapy. However, this treatment targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. They can interfere with cancer cell proliferation by blocking specific signals or processes.
There are two basic types of targeted therapy:
Small-molecule drugs are small enough to attack targets that are inside cells. These drugs can be taken in pill form.
Monoclonal antibodies enlist the immune system to fight cancer and attach to targets on the outer surface of cancer cells. These antibodies are usually given as an intravenous infusion.
The doctor can take a biopsy of the cancerous growth and determine the DNA make-up of the tumor, which can assist in treatment planning. Eight mutations specific to lung cancer make up only 55 percent of the total. The other 45 percent are either other mutations or unknown ones.
As doctors identify more of these genetic markers, they can create more effective treatments. As with other cancers, the possibilities for a cure are endless.