Unlike the traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses advanced and very high end drugs drugs. This protocol is used for advanced staged cancers. These drugs used in this therapy stop the cancer from either growing or spreading. Certain genes and proteins are found in the cancer cells that are responsible for the growth of cancer and the drugs exactly target those genes and proteins. Targeted therapy is mostly a part of overall treatment for lung cancer along with chemotherapy and other forms of treatment.
The drugs used in targeted therapy are mostly for advanced lung cancers such as:
- Bevacizumab (Avastin) and Ramucirumab (Cyramza) are used to treat advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).
- Erlotinib (Tarceva), Afatinib (Gilotrif) and Gefitinib (Iressa) are the drugs termed as EGFR inhibitors that help in blocking the signal from Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) which tells the cancer cells to grow and divide.
- EGFR inhibitors such as osimertinib (Tagrisso) target cancer cells with the T790M mutation while Necitumumab (Portrazza) is used for squamous cell NSCLC.
- Crizotinib (Xalkori), Ceritinib (Zykadia), Alectinib (Alecensa) and Brigatinib (Alunbrig) are the drugs that target cells with ALK gene changes.
- Dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and Trametinib (Mekinist) target cells with BRAF gene changes.
How Targeted Therapy Works?
Different types of cells in our body such as blood cells, brain cells and skin cells have specific functions. Cancer begins when genes present in these cells change. This change is known as mutation. The change in genes is further responsible in the abnormal growth of the cells. The drugs used in the targeted therapy work upon the infected cells, genes, tissues, etc. In certain lung cancers, abnormal proteins in the cancer cells are found in larger amounts. Therefore, the doctor run tests in order to find the most effective target treatment for the patient.
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