Personalized Targeted Therapy FAQs
What is personalized targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a treatment for cancer. It involves using medications that target specific proteins and genes that cancer cells need in order to live and grow.
Targeted therapy can affect the tissues that give cancer an environment that enables it to survive, or it affects cells that support cancer growth, such as blood vessel cells. The Hunterdon Hematology Oncology team uses targeted therapy alongside other treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunology.
Personalized targeted therapy further refines the targeting process by using information about the proteins and genes that make up your tumor. Each cancer is unique to its host, so determining what makes your cancer personal to you means the oncology team can use the most effective treatments.
What types of personalized targeted therapy are there?
There are a number of personalized targeted therapies, including:
Monoclonal antibodies are able to bind to cancer cells and deliver chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the cells to greater effect. Immunotherapy also uses monoclonal antibodies.
Small-molecule drugs help prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading. One type of small-molecule drug is the angiogenesis inhibitor. Angiogenesis is how new blood vessels form, and tumors need blood vessels to feed them and help them grow. Angiogenesis inhibitors stop any new blood vessels from forming, helping to minimize the nutrition your tumor receives.
Some targeted therapies only work on one type of cancer, while others – known as tumor-agnostic or site-agnostic therapies – effectively treat multiple tumors. They work by targeting genetic changes instead of specific types of cells.
Personalized targeted therapy has many potential uses, with new types of treatments in development all the time.
What types of cancer can personalized targeted therapy treat?
FDA approved targeted therapies exist for the treatment of many types of cancers. Some of those for which it’s most widely used include:
- Breast Cancer
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
- Colorectal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- B-cell Leukemias
As personalized targeted therapy is so specific, it’s only effective when treating cancers that fit a precise profile. For instance, with breast cancer, tumors that are human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positively respond to personalized targeted therapy.
Some targeted therapies can even be harmful if used on the wrong tumors. For example, around 50% of melanomas have a BRAF gene mutation. There are numerous FDA-approved BRAF inhibitors, but if your tumor doesn’t have the BRAF mutation, taking one of them could be dangerous.
The expert oncology team at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology has extensive experience and expertise in using personalized targeted therapy to improve outcomes for patients with cancer. They offer personalized targeted therapy and oral oncology treatments through their accredited pharmacy, located onsite for your convenience. Call Hunterdon Hematology Oncology today to find out more or book an appointment online.