In recent years, the advancements in technology and science have redefined how we treat each cancer. At OHC, we tailor each patient’s treatment to their specific cancer. This includes the use of targeted therapy (also known as genomic therapy) as part of our personalized approach to your treatment.
What is targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs. But it is different from traditional chemotherapy, which also uses drugs to treat cancer. Targeted therapy works by targeting the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. These genes and proteins are found in cancer cells or in cells related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells.
The “targets” of targeted therapy
It is helpful to know how cancer cells grow in order to better understand how targeted therapy works. Cells make up every tissue in your body. There are many different cell types, such as blood cells, brain cells, and skin cells. Each type has a specific function. Cancer starts when certain genes in healthy cells change. This change is called a mutation.
Genes tell cells how to make proteins that keep the cell working. If the genes change, these proteins change, too. This makes cells divide abnormally or live too long. When this happens, the cells grow out of control and form a tumor.
Researchers have learned that specific gene changes take place in certain cancers. So, drugs are developed to target the changes. The drugs can:
- Block or turn off signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide
- Keep cells from living longer than normal
- Destroy the cancer cells
The future of targeted therapy
Currently, targeted therapies are used for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma. Through OHC’s clinical research program, we are investigating new drugs and new targets, always with the goal of changing the landscape of how we treat – and eventually cure – cancer.
If you like to speak with someone about targeted therapy, please call OHC at 1-800-710-4674. If you are a new patient or are looking for a second opinion, we’d be happy to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer experts.