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Targeted therapies are designed to attack the tumor cells while leaving healthy cells alone. There are several kinds of Targeted Therapy:

  • Immunotherapy - Also known as biologic therapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier (BRM) therapy, it uses the patientís immune system to fight the tumor. Using living organisms made by the body or in a lab, such as vaccines, bacteria, and antibodies, it boosts the body's natural defenses. It can also be used to train the immune system to attack specific parts of cancer cells. Many times immunotherapy works best when used along with other types of treatment. For example, colony-stimulating factors encourage bone marrow stem cells to divide, boosting the immune system and reducing the need for a transfusion. This allows doctors to give the patient higher doses of anti-cancer drugs without increasing the risk for infections/complications.

    There are 3 main types of immunotherapy:
    * Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) - These are versions of immune system proteins that are made in a lab to attack a specific part of a cancer cell.
    * Cancer Vaccines - Designed to get the body to produce an immune response against certain diseases.
    * Non-specific Immunotherapies - Drugs such as Interleukin-2, Interferon and Thalidomide boost the body's general immune system to help it fight cancer cells.

  • Growth Factors - Growth factors are secreted by cancer cells causing the tumor to grow. Researchers are developing drugs that block these growth factors.

  • Drugs That Block Tumor Growth - Drugs are used to attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. This leads to fewer side effects as compared to traditional chemotherapy drugs. For example, anti-angiogenesis inhibitors are focused on stopping the process of making new blood vessels, starving the tumor because a tumor needs blood vessels to deliver nutrients so it can grow and spread.
  • Gene-based Therapy - Replaces abnormal or missing genes with healthy ones. One way to do this is to put a suicide gene into a tumor cell with the goal of destroying the tumor.

Note: The information provided on this website was not written by a doctor or cancer specialist, so in all cases you should consult your own doctor about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

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