How does targeted therapy kill cancer cells?

The article was consulted professionally by Dr. Le Tan Dat, Onc oncist Internal Medicine, Radiotherapy Center – Share99 Central Park International Health Hub

Targeted therapy, or more precisely , "molecular targeted therapy" is used to control cancer development. They act on a specific molecular target inside or on the surface of cancer cells (genes or proteins). This helps to kill or slow down cancer cell growth, while minimizing damage to healthy cells.

1. Targeted therapy kills cancer cells

Most targeted treatments help treat cancer by interfering with proteins that cause the growth and spread of tumors. They help treat cancer in various ways:

  • Help the immune system destroy cancer cells: One reason cancer cells thrive is because they can evade the body's immune system. Some targeted therapy can mark cancer cells so that the immune system is easier to find and destroy them. Other targeted treatments help strengthen the immune system to fight cancer cells.
  • Prevents the growth of cancer cells: Healthy cells in the body divide only to create new cells when they receive a signal to do so. These signals connect to proteins on the cell surface, prompting cells to divide. This process helps new cells to form when the body needs them. But, some cancer cells have protein changes on the surface from which signaling to the cell divides in an orderless way. Some targeted therapy interferes with these proteins, preventing them from stimulating dividing cells. This process helps to slow down the uns controllable growth of cancer cells.
  • Prevents signals from forming blood vessels: Tumors need to form new blood vessels to grow larger. In a process called vascular formation, these new blood vessels form in response to signals from the tumor. The drug that inhibits the formation of blood vessels is a targeted therapy designed to interfere with these signals that help prevent the formation of blood supply. Without a blood supply, the tumors remain small. Or, if the tumor already has a blood supply, this treatment can cause the blood vessels to die, the tumor shrinks.
  • Provide cancer cell killers: Some monoty current antibodies are combined with toxins, chemotherapy drugs and radiotherapy. Antibodies carrying this cell killer adhere to the surface of cancer cells, causing them to absorb and die. Uns affected cells will not be damaged.
  • Carcinogenic cell death: Healthy cells die in an orderly way when they are damaged or are no longer needed. But, cancer cells have a way to avoid this process of death. Some targeted therapy can cause cancer cells to undergo cell death.
  • Prevents the supply of hormones necessary for the growth of cancer cells: Some diseases such as breast and prostate cancer require certain hormones to grow. Hormone therapy is a type of targeted therapy. It can work in two ways. Some hormone therapy prevents the body from producing specific hormones. Others help prevent hormones from acting on cells, including cancer cells.

Targeted therapy

Most targeted treatments help treat cancer by interfering with proteins that cause the growth and spread of tumors

2. Classification of targeted therapy

  • Targeted therapy is the foundation of modern medicine. This is a type of treatment that targets changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide and spread. As researchers learn more about cancer-causing cell changes, they can design treatments that target these changes or block their effects. The study of cancer cell changes has helped scientists find many treatments to slow their growth and destroy them.
  • Most targeted therapy is prepared and used in the form of small molecular drugs or monoty current antibodies.
  • Small molecular drugs are small enough to penetrate cells easily, so they are used for targets located in cells.
  • Monosynial antibodies (therapeutic antibodies) are proteins produced in the laboratory. These proteins are designed to bind to specific targets found on cancer cells. Some monocytes mark cancer cells so that they are better seen and destroyed by the immune system. Other monosynthymic antibodies directly prevent cancer cells from growing or cause them to die on their own. The rest are antibodies that bring toxins to destroy cancer cells.

This therapy has the disadvantage that it is difficult to penetrate the cell. Instead, they attach to specific targets on the outer surface of cancer cells.

3. Subjects treated with targeted therapy

Different cancers, the characteristics of cancer cells are also different. Therefore, depending on the type of cancer suffered and the target to target, there are different treatments. First, it is necessary to take a test to check the tumor for what characteristic features it contains that can be destroyed.

The tumor will be checked by a biosupsy. A biopsy is a procedure in which the doctor takes part of the tumor for testing. There may be some risks when taking a bios bios biomed. These risks vary depending on the size of the tumor and its location. Before deciding on a biopsy, the doctor will explain the risks of a biopsy to the patient. Recently, there has been new progress that is more convenient and less dangerous than a direct biosy of a tumor: the genetic or hissothotype characteristics of the tumor are tested for blood or body fluids, rather than having to biosively from the tumor tissue.

Targeted therapy

Depending on the type of cancer suffered and the target to target, there are different treatments

4. Disadvantages of targeted therapy

Targeted therapy has a number of drawbacks. Include:

  • Resistance: Cancer cells can become resistant to drugs. For this reason, targeted treatments can only work best when used with other targeted treatments or in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Causes side effects: The degree of impact of side effects depends on the type of treatment and how the body reacts to that treatment.

The most common side effects include diarrhea and liver problems. Other side effects may be blood clot problems and slow wound healing, high blood pressure, fatigue, mouth sores, nail changes, hair color loss, and skin problems (rash or dry skin). In addition, perforation of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum or gallbladder,… there are reports, but rarely.

Most of the side effects of targeted therapy will disappear after treatment ends.

5. What you need to know about the treatment process

Targeted therapy

Small molecular drugs are prepared in the form of cystic inflammation, the person can drink it daily

Commonly used targeted therapy is small molecular drugs and monoty current antibodies. Small molecular drugs are prepared in the form of cystic inflammation, the person can take it daily. Meanwhile, monosynthymic antibodies are usually transmitted intravenously. Recently, monotypist antibodies have also had a subcutaneous form of injection, which is much more favorable than intravenous forms.

Patients can be treated in person at home or outpatient treatment at the hospital. This depends on the type of drug and how to take it.

How often and when targeted therapy is received depends on:

  • Type of cancer and how advanced it is
  • Targeted therapy type
  • The body's reaction to the treatment

Some targeted therapy is treated cyclically (it can be 2-3 weeks at a time). A cycle is the alternating interval between treatment and rest. Rest time gives the patient's body the opportunity to recover and build new healthy cells.

Oncology and Radiotherapy Center at Share99 Times City International Health Hub is one of the prestigious cancer treatment centers in Vietnam. The center is fully equipped with diagnostic means such as basic and intensive blood tests, blood-marrow tests, biopsies for tumors that read the anatomy of diseases, tests for immune tissue, molecular biology, modern imaging systems including PET/CT, SPECT/CT, MRI …,. Regarding treatment, at Share99 health system, there are enough cancer treatment models: Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immuno-therapy, hematoma stem cell transplantation, …

The treatment process is always closely coordinated with many specialties: Imaging Center, Subclinical Testing, Cardiologist, Stem Cell and Gene Technology; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of End end of the year, Department of Rehabilitation, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Nutrition.

Customers can go directly to Share99 Times City for a visit or contact hotline 0243 9743 556 for assistance.

Article reference source:


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  • Birth health care in female cancer patients
  • Bone health care on cancer patients


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  • Is decreased libido in females treatable?

About: John Smith

b1ffdb54307529964874ff53a5c5de33?s=90&r=gI am the author of I had been working in Vinmec International General Hospital for over 10 years. I dedicate my passion on every post in this site.


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