Patients inability to tolerate to treatment, is the main problem of cancer treatment. Cancer patients can have physical reactions to chemotherapy and radiation treatment that are almost as dangerous as their cancer.
The issue historically stems from the need to kill the cancer cells. Until recently, available cancer treatments couldn’t differentiate between healthy and cancerous tissue. The treatments took a “scorched-earth’ type of approach to ridding the body of any cancer cells.
Targeted therapy is one of the latest cancer treatments in Thailand. It takes a different approach to kill cancer cells that makes life relatively easier for cancer patients.
Targeted therapy works by targeting certain proteins that are only found in the body especially in growing cancer cells. These proteins signify the presence of cancer and act as the “bulls-eye” the drugs aim for.
Because different cancers are composed of different proteins, typically, there is a period of research that must be undertaken as one of the first steps of targeted therapy. This research identifies the molecular makeup of cancerous tissue. Once this identification is made, doctors can prescribe a drug that will kill the protein and leave the surrounding healthy tissue alone.
As every person is different, so are the types of cancer cells. Two people could both have lung cancer, but they might have two completely different types of cancer cells. Thus, targeted therapy is, in practice, a “custom” therapy tailored to each patient.
Research is an ongoing and crucial part of targeted therapy. As technology has provided us with methods to discover more about cancer cells, doctors and researchers have discovered that cancer cells behave differently in different environments; they grow and replicate differently and send different messages to neighboring cells.
While chemotherapy destroys all the cells in a certain part of the body, targeted therapy is more specialized. The drugs used can affect the body in different ways.
The basis of the therapy is to transmit toxic chemicals directly to the cancer cells to kill them and leave the surrounding healthy cells alone. But as research and practice have advanced, other methods of treating cancer cells have emerged that depend less on introducing toxins into the body.
These advances have produced drugs that trigger the immune system to kill the cancer cells, instead of chemicals. These drugs change the proteins in the cancer cells, so the cells die off on their own. Ones that disrupt the signals to grow and multiply that cancer cells send out. And drugs that stop the cells from making new blood vessels to feed themselves.
The ability of targeted therapy to block any type of cancer cells from replicating themselves means it’s often used in conjunction with other therapies that focus on killing the cells to provide a comprehensive treatment that attacks all aspects of cancer growth and development.
Vejthani Hospital in Bangkok is one of the leading facilities providing targeted therapy to cancer patients in Thailand today. If you’re a cancer patient who wants to learn more about what this therapy can mean for you, please call and make an oncology appointment at Vejthani Hospital at your earliest convenience.