Posted: Jan 02, 2017 3:24 pm
by DavidMcC
Clearly, standard chemotherapy leaves much to be desired, but some cancers can, at least in principle, now be treated more efficiently than by conventional chemotheapy:
http://www.cancercenter.com/lung-cancer/targeted-therapy/
...
What is targeted therapy?
Targeted therapies are drugs or other substances designed to block the growth and spread of cancer by preventing cancer cells from dividing or by destroying them directly. While standard chemotherapy affects all cells in the body, targeted therapy directs drugs or other specially created substances (e.g., immune system proteins developed in the lab) to attack cancer cells. The goal of targeted therapy is to interfere with genes or proteins involved in tumor growth to block the spread of the disease.
By targeting specific molecules that are responsible for the growth, progression and spread of cancer, targeted therapy differs from standard chemotherapy, which attacks the disease systemically and, therefore, also damages healthy cells. Because targeted therapy specifically seeks out cancer cells, it is designed to reduce the harm to healthy cells, which may lead to fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy.

The usefulness of targetted therapies will hopefully increase in the not-too-distant future.