without side effects?
that target the microbiological mechanisms that tumor cells use to grow
may provide a more successful and gentle chemotherapy experience.
agents target all fast growing cells. That means that hair, nail and
other healthy tissue are just as much a target as the tumor cells. The
hope is that the cancer will be more damaged by the treatments than the
rest of the patient. Thankfully, this is usually the case, but there are
instances where the damage to the heart and other organs is so severe
that the treatments need to be discontinued.
cells could be targeted, the cytotoxic side effects that are associated
with chemotherapy could be eliminated.
in tumor microbiology are creating these drug therapies based on targeting
specific cells. Breakthroughs in the field of molecular biology have lead
to pharmacological agents that target areas found only on the cancer cells.
Drugs based on these findings are being investigated. They interfere with
the 'normal' functions of tumor cells. Proliferation, angiogenesis and
metastasis are the leading areas of vunerability being explored in the
can be interfered with by drugs that target the growth factor receptors
and HER-2/neu receptors on cancer cells. This prevents the cells from
continuing their abnormal growth patterns. In some cases the drugs prevent
the drug from reproducing and eliminate the tumor. Many of these have
been tested on animal models and in the lab and some are now entering
clinical trials for humans. One, herceptin,
which targets HER-2/neu receptors has been approved and has made a major
impact on the success of breast cancer treatment.
In short, the challenge to doctors and scientists is delivering chemo is balance. (Think of it as carpet bombing an entire town hoping that you hit the desired target.) That is, weighing the toxicity of chemo drugs while still allowing the patient to survive! Targeted chemotherapy is the next step in the future of cancer treatment that will produced less toxic drugs in the fight against the disease.
updated May 2, 2017
on the Web:
Cancer.Net - Understanding Targeted Therapy
Chemo without the side effects: Scientists look to gold, toad skin for answers