A Comprehensive Overview of Targeted Cancer Therapies | Max Hospital

Targeted Cancer Therapies: A Comprehensive Overview | Max Hospital

By Dr. Sachin Gupta in Cancer Care / Oncology

Mar 04 , 2024 | 2 min read

Cancer remains one of the most formidable challenges to human health, with its complexity and heterogeneity presenting obstacles to traditional treatment approaches. However, the advent of targeted therapies has revolutionized cancer treatment by offering personalized, precision medicine tailored to the specific characteristics of individual cancers.

Targeted therapies represent a pivotal advancement in cancer treatment, offering a precision medicine approach that selectively disrupts key molecular pathways driving tumour growth and progression. They selectively interfere with specific molecules involved in cancer cell genesis. Targeted therapies represent a paradigm shift in cancer treatment, offering personalized approaches that exploit the molecular vulnerabilities of tumours.

Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which acts on rapidly dividing cells regardless of whether they are cancerous or healthy, targeted therapies aim to disrupt specific pathways or molecular targets aberrant in cancer cells.

These therapies target various aspects of cancer biology, including signalling pathways, gene mutations, and tumour microenvironment interactions. For instance, some drugs inhibit tyrosine kinases, enzymes involved in cell signalling pathways that regulate cell growth and division. Others target specific mutations, such as the BRAF mutation in melanoma, or exploit vulnerabilities in cancer cells’ DNA repair.

One of the key advantages of targeted therapies is their ability to selectively kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells, thus minimizing side effects commonly associated with traditional chemotherapy. Additionally, targeted therapies have the potential to overcome resistance mechanisms that render conventional treatments ineffective, leading to more durable responses and improved outcomes for patients.

Targeted therapies have demonstrated remarkable success in the treatment of various cancers, including breast, lung, colorectal, and leukaemia, among others. For example, the use of HER2-targeted therapies has significantly improved outcomes in HER2-positive breast cancer patients, while EGFR inhibitors have become the standard of care for certain subsets of non-small cell lung cancer.

Read More :- Understanding Targeted Therapies: Revolutionizing Lung Cancer Treatment

Despite their promise, targeted therapies face challenges such as acquired resistance and limited efficacy in some patients and, in India, the cost of therapy.

Additionally, identifying suitable targets and biomarkers for patient selection remains a hurdle in the development and implementation of these therapies.

However, ongoing research efforts aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cancer and identifying novel targets hold promise for the continued advancement of targeted therapies.

An example of this is small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies commonly used to target receptor tyrosine kinases, such as EGFR, HER2, and ALK, which are frequently dysregulated in various cancers.

Targeted therapies offer improved efficacy, reduced toxicity, and the potential for personalized therapeutic regimens.