Today, it’s possible to determine a tumor’s genetic makeup as well as identify associated proteins and other factors influencing its growth and spread. Thanks to these advances in care, treatments to attack or interfere with the function of specific molecular targets have been developed. These targeted therapies prevent or inhibit the growth, progression, and spread of the cancer.
Each targeted therapy functions in on a specific molecular in a unique way. Some prevent hormonal influences on tumor growth, while others interfere with the biochemical signals that cancer cells receive. There are also targeted therapies designed to induce the death of cancer cells, modulate gene expression, block the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors, or trigger the immune system to combat the disease.
Not all tumors have the same targets, and effective treatment requires profiling the genes, proteins, and other factors in a tumor. With precision medicine, treatment plans are individualized to achieve optimal results. Approaches to care might include an individual targeted therapy, a combination of targeted therapies, as well as targeted therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs and other modes of treatment.