Targeted therapy uses customized chemotherapeutic drugs to treat cancer by stopping the growth and spread of cancer cells. Each patient’s cancer cells are unique and each patient responds differently to chemotherapies. With more than 70 different types of chemotherapy, identifying the best chemotherapies for each patient’s profile can help to eliminate drugs that may not be effective. By using the patient's own tumor cells, the reaction to a chemotherapeutic drug or combination of drugs can be analyzed, resulting in a cancer treatment that is tailored to each patient’s unique profile.
“Programmed cell death,” known as apoptosis, is the natural process by which damaged or abnormal cells are removed from the body. Cancer cells grow abnormally and do not die as quickly as normal cells. Through research, we now realize that cancer patient responses to chemotherapy occur when drugs unleash programmed cell death inside cancer cells. From research studies, targeted therapy is now focused on cancers of the lung, colon, stomach, pancreas as well as high risk prostate and recurrent ovarian and breast cancers.
How Targeted Therapy Works
Each patient’s cancer cells have unique properties that can be studied outside of the body utilizing special laboratory equipment. During a biopsy or surgery, tissues of cancer cells are removed. In the laboratory, scientists perform an Ex-Vivo Assay (EVA) or EVA assay to analyze the cancer cells and match them with FDA approved drugs (chemotherapeutic agents) that would be most effective in treating the cancer. Drugs tested for possible matches to treat the cancer cells can also be combined to look for new combination therapies. After the best chemotherapeutic drug or combinations are identified, the assay-directed chemotherapy can then be administered by an oncologist. This can give cancer patients the most effective personalized treatment plan.
What to Expect
Laboratory tests that use an individual patient’s tumor tissues to select treatments can streamline drug development and improve patient outcomes.
Benefits of Targeted Therapy
- An effective, personalized treatment.
- Saves time in treatment process.
- A low toxic treatment with reduced side effects.
- Spares patients from exposure to harsh therapies that may not be effective in controlling/curing their cancer.