Targeted Cancer Therapies

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 · 0 comments

Targeted cancer therapies use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer. They interfere with specific molecules involved in carcinogenesis which means the process by which normal cells become cancer cells and tumor growth. Because scientists call these molecules “molecular targets,” these therapies are sometimes called “molecular-targeted drugs,” “molecularly targeted therapies,” or other similar names. By focusing on molecular and cellular changes that are specific to cancer, targeted cancer therapies may be more effective than current treatments and less harmful to normal cells.
Most targeted cancer therapies are in preclinical testing but some are in clinical trials or have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Targeted cancer therapies are being studied for use alone, in combination with each other, and in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. The cells in malignant tumors are abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Also, cancer cells can break away from a malignant tumor and spread to other parts of the body.Normal cell growth and division are largely under the control of a network of chemical and molecular signals that give instructions to cells. Genetic changes can disrupt the signaling process so that cells no longer grow and divide normally, or no longer die when they should. Alterations in two types of genes can contribute to the cancer process. Proto-oncogenes are normal genes that are involved in cell growth and division. Changes in these genes lead to the development of oncogenes, which can promote or allow excessive and continuous cell growth and division. Tumor suppressor genes are normal genes that slow down cell growth and division. When a tumor suppressor gene does not work properly, cells may be unable to stop growing and dividing, which leads to tumor growth.
Targeted cancer therapies interfere with cancer cell growth and division in different ways and at various points during the development, growth, and spread of cancer. Many of these therapies focus on proteins that are involved in the signaling process. By blocking the signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide uncontrollably, targeted cancer therapies can help to stop the growth and division of cancer cells. Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes this orderly process goes wrongTargeted cancer therapies will give doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatment. Eventually, treatments may be individualized based on the unique set of molecular targets produced by the patient's tumor.

Radiation therarphy


Radiation therapy — also called radiotherapy — is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells in the breast that may stick around after surgery.Radiation therapy uses radiation (high-energy rays) to kill or shrink tumour cells. It is used to treat some, but not all cancers. Radiation therapy destroys cells either directly or by interfering with cell reproduction. Normal cells are able to recover from radiation damage better than cancer cells.Used alone, radiation therapy can cure cancer in many cases. It is also used in combination with other treatments or therapies such as surgery or chemotherapy. It might be used to both reduce the size of tumours before surgery or to destroy any remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumour. The radiation fields may also include the draining lymph nodes if they are clinically or radiologically involved with tumour, or if there is thought to be a risk of subclinical malignant spread. It is necessary to include a margin of normal tissue around the tumour to allow for uncertainties in daily set-up and internal tumor motion.
Radiation, at levels thousands of times the amount used to produce a chest x-ray, destroys the ability of cells to divide and grow. Both normal and cancer cells are affected, but the radiation treatment is designed to maximize tumor effect and minimize normal tissue effect. Maximizing tumor effect is one reason radiation therapy is given in a series of treatments rather than one treatment.
Radiation therapy can offer, in some instances, permanent control of tumors that cannot be controlled by surgery or chemotherapy,. In other cases, even when cure is not possible, radiation therapy can still bring a measure of relief. Shrinking a large tumor with radiation therapy may improve the quality of life by reducing pressure, bleeding or pain.During treatment, the cancer specialist will monitor the effect of the radiation on the cancer as well as on normal tissue. It may be necessary to alter the plan because of changes in the tumor or normal tissue, but this is usually not necessary. Most side effects that occur during radiation therapy, although unpleasant, are usually not serious.When cancer of the oral or nasal cavity is treated with radiation therapy, a foul odor may develop as the tumor is destroyed by the radiation. This odor is usually temporary and decreases as the tumor dies.
It is important for your veterinarian to examine your pet periodically after radiation therapy is over. This will allow normal tissue side effects to be detected before they become advanced, and the effect of the radiation on the tumor to be evaluated. It is the goal of radiation to completely eradicate the cancer. In some pets this happens and no evidence of the tumor persists. In other pets the cancer or lump may never completely disappear, but growth is arrested and the tumor is essentially controlled. The specific results to be expected depend on many factors. Specific details on likelihood of success for a specific tumor will be provided to you by the cancer specialist.
Finally, it is important to realize that even though your pet may never be totally the same as before the cancer was diagnosed, it is possible in many pets to provide additional comfortable months or years of happy life through radiation therapy.



Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy; this means it affects the whole body by going through the bloodstream. The purpose of chemotherapy is to get rid of any cancer cells that may have spread from where the cancer started to another part of the body.Chemotherapy is the use of chemical substances to cancer.chemotherapy is used most often to describe drugs that kill cancer cells directly.

Chemotherapy is used for a variety of purposes like it is used to cure a specific cancer,
to control tumor growth when the cure is not possible.Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a variety of different ways.The method of administration of chemo treatments along with the dose is determined by rigorous testing called clinical trials, which are done prior to the specific chemo drug being available for commercial use with patients. During this testing process, scientists and doctors determine how specific chemo drugs are absorbed in the body and how they work. Sometimes stomach juices can destroy different chemicals, making some medications impossible to give as a pill. Other substances are found to have better anti-cancer action if given
intravenously.Some medications can be given as an injection into the muscle and still others are absorbed when given directly into the bladder or the abdominal cavity.

The chemotherapy will destroy diseased or cancerous cells, whether they are in the bone marrow or elsewhere. It destroys the normally healthy stem cells in your child’s bone marrow as well. It also suppresses, or reduces the strength of, your child’s immune system and allows new cells to grow.

Chemotherapy will affect normal fast-growing cells, like those in your child’s hair, mouth, stomach, and intestines. Common side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and mouth sores. These side effects are temporary, but some of them may cause mild, moderate, or severe discomfort.

Some of the drugs used in chemotherapy can cause bladder irritation, which may make your child’s urine bloody or cause a burning feeling when they urinate.To prevent this, they’ll be given fluids intravenously and will be asked to urinate every one to two hours while they’re getting this chemotherapy, even through the night.

Some people experience many side effects of chemotherapy, while others have very few. The BMT healthcare team will work with your child to keep them as comfortable as possible. Medications can help with nausea and vomiting. You can help your child by using stress reduction techniques. This might mean listening to calming music, expressing their feelings to someone close to them, writing in a journal, or thinking positive thoughts about how the chemotherapy is fighting their disease.

It’s common to feel tired after chemotherapy. Pay attention to what your child’s body is telling them and make sure they get enough rest. When your child’s immune system is suppressed, their energy level is lower and they are more susceptible to infections.The side effects of chemo generally depend on the type of therapy being offered. Most chemotherapy side effects cease after treatment. Although uncommon, some treatments may produce long-term effects.



Thermography is a tool which identifies breast cancer that uses super-sensitive infrared cameras and computer technology to detect heat on the surface of a patient’s breast. The presence of such heat is sometimes the result of intensive chemical and blood vessel activity that is characteristic of precancerous or cancerous tissue.Although some health professionals support the use of thermography (also known as digital infrared imaging).It may not detect small cancers or tumors deeper in the breast and it cannot pinpoint the location of a tumor. Two factors cause cancerous cells to generate heat that theoretically can be detected during thermography:Higher metabolic activity of cancer tissue compared to normal tissue. Cancer cells have higher rates of metabolism (physical and chemical processes in the body) than normal tissues. This higher metabolism registers as an increase in the surface temperature of the breast near the cancerous tissue. This is detected by the infrared camera.Angiogenesis. A cancerous tumor produces a chemical that promotes the development of blood vessels that supply the tumor with the nutrients it needs to keep growing. In addition, the cancer causes normal blood vessels to dilate (open) to provide even more blood to the forming tumor. Both of these activities produce additional heat which may be detected by the infrared camera.The infrared camera used during thermography converts infrared radiation emitted from the skin into electrical impulses and feeds the information into a computer. The computer analyzes the temperature and vascular (blood vessel) changes and produces high-resolution images known as thermograms. These images can be displayed on a monitor for analysis, with areas of raised temperature appearing red and areas of normal temperature appearing blue. They can also be printed or sent to another physician electronically.Thermography has been tested and researched since the 1950s. It originally involved the use of contact plates that measured the heat emitting from the breasts, although thermograms are now produced digitally. In 1982, the U.S FDA approved the use of thermography to help detect breast cancer and some circulation disorders, such as deep vein thrombosis and conditions relating to blood flow in the head and neck.Proponents of thermography claim that the technique can detect signs of precancerous or cancerous cells far earlier than other imaging techniques. For example, mammography technology cannot detect cancer until a tumor has actually begun to form, which may take several years. Thermography is designed to detect the formation of new blood vessels and chemical changes that occur very early in a tumor’s development. Some experts contend that thermography can identify signs of the formation of breast cancer up to 10 years before any other technique can detect them.In addition, thermography is touted as having certain advantages over traditional mammography procedures. During thermography, the machine does not touch the breast, in contrast to the squeezing of the breast that occurs during mammography. In addition, patients are not exposed to the potentially harmful radiation used in mammography.However, many experts have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of thermography in diagnosing breast cancer. For example, the American Cancer Society maintains that thermography is not a reliable diagnostic tool because it misses some cancers and has a high rate of false positives. The ACS warns that thermography should never be used as a replacement for mammograms.Other experts have also criticized thermography for producing too many false results, and have argued that the technique cannot detect the heat of cancers located deep in the breast or under fatty areas. It has also been noted that not all cancers emit heat, and thus would not be revealed by a thermogram.Still, some experts support thermography as a valuable tool in detecting breast cancers. Experts generally agree that thermography should not be used as a stand-alone diagnostic tool, but rather should be used with other diagnostic tools, such as mammograms, ultrasounds and physical examinations.

Biological Therapy


Biological therapy (BYE-o-loj-ee-cal THER-ah-py) is a type of treatment that works with your immune system. It can help fight cancer or help control side effects (how your body reacts to the drugs you are taking) from other cancer treatments like chemotherapy.The immune system of the patient is treated in a bio therapy. It not only strengthens your immune system but also helps in ensuring that you are able fight against the side effects. In a bio therapy the therapist inserts some natural substances into the patient's body.The bio therapy drugs will perform two functions simultaneously. Firstly it will destroy the harmful cells responsible for diseases like cancer . Secondly it will segregate your regular cells from them. This will make sure that your body is able to function in a routine manner. Since these two tasks are performed simultaneously you will be able to get relief in a shorter period in biotherapy.Biotherapy treatment supplies natural substances to fight against diseases to the whole and to the affected region . The therapist identifies the energy levels in the infected area and then goes ahead with the therapy after calculating the amount to be supplemented. The success of bio therapy treatment also lies in allocating the appropriate amount of energy. If the energy levels are in excess or it is not supplied adequately the consequences will be severe. It takes less than a few hours to administer biological therapy. The treatement varies from case to case.Some minor problems may even be cured within 20 or 20 minutes though not in a single session. Most of the therapist will insist that you do a follow up by regular checkups to ensure that the energy levels remain constantly in the body at the same level.Bio therapy is very helpful to cure skin diseases and as well as regularize your digestive system.Bio therapy is well known for treating ailments like cancer. Cancer immunotherapy is not similar to the laser treatment provided for cancer patients. In a laser treatment the harmful cells are killed. But in a bio therapy the therapist kills the harmful substances and as well as makes sure that the routine functions of the normal cells are performed without any disturbances.
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