Treatment Types

The treatment plan depends mainly on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Doctors also consider the patient’s age and general health. Often, the goal of treatment is to cure the cancer. In other cases, the goal is to control the disease or to reduce symptoms for as long as possible. The treatment plan may change over time.

Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. You and your doctor can work together to decide on a treatment plan that is best for you.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and progression. Because scientists often call these molecules “molecular targets,” targeted cancer therapies are sometimes called “molecularly 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 other types of treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and less harmful to normal cells. Targeted cancer therapies interfere with cancer cell division (proliferation) and spread in different ways. Many of these therapies focus on proteins that are involved in cell signaling pathways, which form a complex communication system that governs basic cellular functions and activities, such as cell division, cell movement, cell responses to specific external stimuli, and even cell death. By blocking signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide uncontrollably, targeted cancer therapies can help stop cancer progression and may induce cancer cell death through a process known as apoptosis. Other targeted therapies can cause cancer cell death directly, by specifically inducing apoptosis, or indirectly, by stimulating the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells and/or by delivering toxic substances directly to the cancer cells.

The development of targeted therapies, therefore, requires the identification of good targets—that is, targets that are known to play a key role in cancer cell growth and survival.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy is a type of targeted therapy that blocks signals needed for tumors to grow. TKIs blocks the enzyme, tyrosine kinase, that causes stem cells to develop into more white blood cells (granulocytes or blasts) than the body needs. Imatinib (Gleevec) is one of the TKIs used to treat childhood CML.
TKIs may be used in combination with other anticancer drugs as adjuvant therapy (treatment given after the initial treatment, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back).

Monoclonal antibody therapy

Monoclonal antibody therapy uses antibodies made in the laboratory, from a single type of immune system  cell. These antibodies can identify substances on cancer cells or normal substances that may help cancer cells grow. The antibodies attach to the substances and kill the cancer cells, block their growth, or keep them from spreading. Monoclonal antibodies are given by infusion. They may be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies may be used in combination with chemotherapy as adjuvant therapy.

Natural Killer (NK)

Natural killer (NK) cells are white blood cells that can kill tumor cells. These may be taken from a donor and given to the patient by infusion to help kill leukemia cells.

Recommended Reading

References:

National Institute of Health. Types of Cancers 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011 from http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?cdrid=270742http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/targeted

Wikipedia. Targeted Therapy. Retrieved October 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeted_therapy

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Did You Know

Building awareness of childhood cancer is critical to funding and finding a cure. To help, please consider sharing teamconnor.org on your Facebook.

Today, 46 children will be diagnosed with cancer.  Seven will lose their battle..

Did you know September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!.

Every day in America, approximately 46 children are diagnosed with cancer..

Childhood cancer does not discriminate, sparing no ethnic group, socio-economic class, or geographic region..

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children, accounting for about 3% of childhood cancers..

On average, 1 in every 4 elementary schools has a child with cancer. .

About one-third of childhood cancers are leukemias..

Childhood cancer survival rates in the United States have increased from less than 20% in the 1960s to almost 80% today..

Cancer kills more children each year than Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, and Pediatric AIDS combined. .

Childhood cancer is not one disease entity, but rather a spectrum of different malignancies. Cancers found in children are biologically different from those seen in adults. .

1 in 300 children will develop cancer before age 20. .

Neuroblastoma is the most common extra cranial solid tumor cancer in children. .

Today, up to 75% of the children with cancer can be cured, yet, some forms of childhood cancers have proven so resistant to treatment that, in spite of research, a cure is illusive..

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