Target therapy and its role in the fight against cancer
Cancer is one of the most common causes of mortality in the world, so scientists and doctors do not tire to look for ways to overcome it. One of the most effective ways to combat cancer today is targeting therapy. What is its essence, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this method of treatment?
What is targeted therapy?
Target therapy is the treatment of cancer patients based on the principles of molecular medicine. Its essence is as follows: special drugs block the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the mechanism of action of certain target (target) molecules necessary for tumor growth.
Drugs that are prescribed to the patient, act at the molecular level, suppressing the mechanism of development of malignant neoplasms. Targeted therapy can affect not only the tumor, but also metastases, which are a real breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. Metastases under the action of drugs cease to grow, and then completely disappear. The purpose of targeted therapy is to influence only cancer cells without affecting the healthy, therefore, the body usually transports it much better than, for example, traditional chemotherapy. Target translated from English means target, target.
As already mentioned, the main difference between targenic therapy and chemotherapy is as follows: it does not affect healthy cells. This is the biggest advantage of the technique, because the patient usually takes a normal course of treatment. However, we can not say that targeted therapy is absolutely harmless to the body. It has a number of side effects.
Side effects of targeted therapy
Even though targeting therapy is less toxic than chemotherapy, it may have the following side effects:
Liver disease (up to the development of hepatitis).
Rash on the skin, acne.
Increased arterial pressure.
Problems with blood coagulation.
Chronic feeling of fatigue.
Abnormal reproductive function.
Changes in the structure of hair and nails.
What can you expect from targeting in the future?
Target therapy is considered by doctors all over the world as one of the most advanced treatments for cancer. It gives hope for a complete recovery of cancer patients not only at an early stage of the disease. Targeted therapy can now successfully overcome cancer of the third and even the fourth stage, as certain drugs effectively fight not only tumors, but also with metastases. Now the best targeting therapy treats kidney, liver, skin (melanoma), intestines, mammary glands. There is also some progress in the treatment of thyroid cancer, which is generally poorly managed by medical therapy.
Scientists do not stop at the achievement and work on improving existing drugs, developing new, more effective and less harmful to the body. To do this, many clinical studies are conducted, features and capabilities of molecular medicine are studied.
Target therapy is one of the main hopes of mankind for a complete overcoming of cancer. Its main disadvantage is nowadays – a fairly high cost of drugs, which for many patients are financially inaccessible. Also, unfortunately, it does not affect all forms of cancer. In addition, it should be borne in mind that targeted therapy for the treatment of cancer has started to be used not so long ago, and therefore all its possible side effects, especially in the long run, have not been fully explored. However, one thing is clear: targeted therapy gives hope to cancer patients for the future.