Targeted Therapy

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What is targeted therapy?

As researchers have learned more about the gene changes in cells that cause cancer, they have been able to develop drugs that target these changes. Treatment with these drugs is often called targeted therapy.

Targeted therapy drugs, like any drug used to treat cancer, are technically considered “chemotherapy.” But targeted therapy drugs do not work in the same ways as standard chemotherapy drugs. They are often able to attack cancer cells while doing less damage to normal cells by going after the cancer cells’ inner workings—the programming that sets them apart from normal, healthy cells. These drugs tend to have different (and often less severe) side effects than standard chemotherapy drugs.

Targeted therapies are used to treat many kinds of diseases. Here we will focus on their use to treat cancer. In the past, only a few cancers could be treated with targeted therapy, but now these drugs are used to treat many different types of cancer.

Targeted therapies are a major focus of cancer research today. Many future advances in cancer treatment will probably come from this field.

Here we will explain:


Last Medical Review: 07/12/2013
Last Revised: 07/12/2013