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This website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. As cancer research continues to learn more about how gene changes in cells can cause cancer, this research is helping to introduce new types of cancer drugs. Until fairly recently, only a few types of cancers could be treated with targeted therapy, but now these drugs are used to treat many different types of cancer, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic, lymphoma, leukemia and melanoma.
While targeted therapy drugs used in cancer treatment are generally considered as chemotherapy, these drugs do not work the same as standard chemotherapy drugs, which often attack a patient’s healthy cells along with the cancer cells. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapy will go after cancer cells, while doing less damage to the patient’s normal, healthy cells.
Currently there are a number of targeted therapies now approved by the FDA to treat many types of cancers. Recent studies show that not all tumors have the same targets, which explains why a targeted therapy treatment may not work for every patient.
For instance, some patients may have an appropriate target for a particular targeted therapy, allowing them to be treated with that therapy.
In some instances, patients may be candidates for targeted therapy if they meet specific criteria, such as their cancer did not respond to other types of therapies, the cancer has spread, or if the cancer is inoperable.
While it is currently an exciting time for cancer research in regards to targeted therapy, as more are being approved to treat different types of cancer, these targeted therapies will still not benefit patients whose tumor does not contain a proper target.
Research shows that roughly 20% to 25% of all breast cancers have too much of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). More cancer research is confirming that drugs which block the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), often overproduced in this type of cancer, may be effective for stopping or slowing the growth of colon or rectal cancer. Cancer drugs that block the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) may also be effective in stopping or slowing the growth of certain types of lung cancer, especially if the EGFR gene contains certain mutations.
Lynparza (olaparib) is recently FDA approved targeted therapy for various types of advanced ovarian cancer that are related to defective BRCA genes.
Currently there are a number of clinical trials underway on many different types of cancer to investigate new targets and drugs aimed at them. Even though targeted therapy does not generally attack a patient’s healthy cells the way standard chemo drugs may, a patient may still experience some side effects with this treatment. High Blood Pressure Some targeted therapies may cause a patient’s blood pressure to rise. Blood Clotting Other targeted cancer drugs may interfere with the formation of new blood vessels. Throughout a patient’s treatment with targeted therapy drugs, their health care team will closely monitor them for any possible side effects. While the idea of targeting a drug to a tumor seems straight forward, this therapy is complex and not always effective. While the development of these targeted therapies are a breakthrough in treating cancer, only a few cancers can still be eliminated with just these drugs alone. Oncology Associates provides world class cancer care to patients in Omaha and throughout Nebraska, with clinics in Blair and Norfolk. This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by Janssen Biotech, Inc.
Because infertility may be permanent, men who wish to have children in the future should talk to their doctors about banking their sperm for later use.
Many men with advanced prostate cancer take medicines to lower their levels of testosterone and other male sex hormones, because those hormones can fuel prostate cancer's growth and spread. You can control many of the symptoms of low testosterone with medication and lifestyle changes. To ease the symptoms, drink 8 to 12 cups of clear liquids every day, such as water, apple juice, or sports drinks. The cancer or some treatments for it (radiation, hormone therapy, chemo, or treatment vaccines) can make you feel wiped out. If your cancer treatment gives you anemia (low red blood cell counts), that will make you fatigued, too. Talk to your doctor about drugs you can take before your treatment to help prevent and control nausea and vomiting. Also, ask your doctor about complementary approaches, such as acupuncture, hypnosis, biofeedback, and guided imagery, which may also help manage side effects (but don't replace standard medical care). With the severity of many cancer cases, the treatment of cancer is regarded as a very sensitive area.
First used during World War II, during studies on mustard gas, chemotherapy has been around since the 1940s and in public use since the 1950s. Cytotoxic drugs come in many forms: there are currently over 100 different chemotherapy drugs in use today.

Radiation therapy uses x-rays, gamma rays and other types of radiation, in order to attempt to shrink tumors and destroy cancer cells. While radiation is part of our every day lives, radiation therapy bombards the body with a very high dosage. There are several dominant types of treatment, depending on the condition of the cancer and the patient. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer all have similar and differing properties. It should be noted that, while immunotherapy techniques have shown very few side effects (and less serious ones) during clinical trials, it has not existed long enough to study the long-term effects. We look forward to further study in immunotherapy, in order to hopefully deliver more effective therapy for cancer patients, while reducing the damage to the human body. OncoSec's investigational drug and device products have not been approved or cleared by the FDA. Chilkov will discuss the utlization of nutraceutical, botanical, food and lifestyle interventions in order to address a broad spectrum of the most common side effects and traumas that occur during cancer treatment, recovery and long-term survivorship. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, prescribing any medication or other treatment, or discontinuing any medication or treatment recommended by your healthcare provider.
One form of cancer treatment that involves the use of these drugs is referred to as targeted therapy. In addition, clinical trials are continuing to look for additional drugs aimed at new targets that have recently been discovered. Targeted therapies work by going straight to the genes and proteins in cancer cells to halt their ability to grow and spread. And each of these genes produces a different protein, which also performs a different task for the cell. A patient’s tumor tissue must be first tested to determine if they have an appropriate target. And in some instances, even if there is a proper target, this still does not guarantee that the treatment will work. Gilotrif (Afatinib) is a recent FDA approved targeted therapy for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. In fact, more than half of patients taking a certain targeted therapy drug have experienced some type of skin related side effect.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to prevent this, but your health team will routinely monitor blood pressure closely for patients taking a drug with this type of side effect.
Sometimes the target in the cancer cell may wind up not being as important as was originally thought, so the drug will not provide much of a benefit to the patient. With a few exceptions, patients with cancer generally receive targeted therapy as part of a combination with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or hormonal therapy.
Dietary supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D, along with exercise and weight training, can help boost bone strength.
So if you don't like how it makes you feel, let your doctor know in case you could switch medicines.
Strict regulations surround the research and delivery of treatment, there are specific protocols used by doctors in diagnosis, and long established doctrine often governs which treatment option is used. Some attack genetic material, some slow the spread (or metastasis) of cancer, and others block the absorption of nutrients or cell division. The radiation kills cells, through damaging their genetic structure in several different ways. Similar to chemotherapy, it can be administered on its own or in a combination therapy: oftentimes alongside chemotherapy. As stated in a recent blog post, OncoSec sees a lot of potential in immunotherapy, including the possibility of higher effectiveness with lower side effects. One way of decreasing the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy as well as boosting the effectiveness of treatment could be combination therapies with immunotherapy techniques. The use of a targeted therapy may be restricted to patients whose tumor has a specific gene mutation that codes for the target, where as patients who do not have this mutation would not be good candidates, as the therapy would have nothing to target. Patients are encouraged to follow up with their health care team to gain more information about possible therapies and treatment options. If a patient’s test results show the cancer is HER2 positive, there are several FDA approved drugs that may be recommended as as targeted therapy options.
While the FDA has approved several BRAF inhibitors, these drugs should not be used by patients whose tumors do not have these mutations.
For instance, some drugs will target substances that are more common on cancer cells, but may also be found on healthy cells.
These problems usually develop slowly over days to weeks and are not signs of a drug allergy.

Some patients may require medicine to help bring their blood pressure back down to a safe level while they are using a targeted therapy.
These drugs may also cause blood clotting in the patient’s legs and lungs, as well as heart attacks and strokes. And patient’s experiencing any side effects should inform their health care team about any new or unusual changes.
As physicians learn more about the specific changes in cancer cells, more targeted treatments will be developed. He may be able to adjust your doses or switch your treatments, and that can make a difference.
This can happen after you have surgery to remove your prostate as well as from radiation therapy. Because of these factors, a few cornerstone treatments have surfaced over the years, which still make up the majority of treatments. The aim of treatment with chemo is dependent on the type of cancer and the stage it is found in. Radiation can be delivered through mechanical delivery systems or it can be injected or otherwise placed inside of the body. However, radiation therapy is generally much more location specific; that is to say that, while chemotherapy treats the whole body, radiation is used on a more targeted area. While radiation can be more targeted than the blanket approach of chemotherapy, it can still damage surrounding cellular tissue, as it lacks the ability to differentiate between healthy and cancerous tissue. The effects of such treatment regiments could illicit a number of different outcomes, depending on the drugs and dosages used.
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When certain proteins are blocked, or stop working altogether, the cancer cells stop growing and die.
For example Herceptin (trastuzumab) was developed to target cancers that over produce the HER2 protein.
Zelboraf (Vemurafenib) is an example of targeted drug therapy used for metastatic melanoma. When the drug from therapy treatment attacks more than one target, side effects are more likely to occur.
However, allergic reactions to these drugs generally start suddenly, usually within minutes to hours from when the drug was given. Inform your health team if you experience any problems with sudden swelling, pain or tenderness in the arms or legs.
The sooner health providers are informed, the sooner they can treat any possible side effects and keep them from getting worse. The two options used most often, aside from surgery for early-stage tumors, are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The range of uses is also similar to chemo, as it can be used with the intention of destroying the cancer, slowing it down or being used to lessen symptoms of the disease.
The known side effects of both chemo and radiation can be very abrasive and can also create long-term health risks, especially if used for childhood cancers. We are currently testing ImmunoPulse alongside several drug therapies, with Old Dominion University. Kadcyla, or T-DM1, is yet another targeted drug therapy for treating women with stage 2 or stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that is also HER2-positive. Patients experiencing chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, vision problems, weakness, seizures or difficulty talking, must seek immediate emergency help.
Overall, side effects from targeted therapy are manageable and are generally less severe than with traditional chemotherapy treatment. Other targeted therapies are being evaluated in clinical trials to see how well they work in treating breast cancer.
Other allergic reactions may include serious side effects like difficulty breathing, a tightness in the throat, dizziness, or swelling of the tongue or lips.
As more targets are identified and new therapies are developed, patients will be eligible for treatments that work best for their type of breast cancer.

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