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What is targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment which targets the genetic mutations or changes that convert healthy cells into cancer cells in an uncontrolled way. Targeted therapy helps oncologists treat cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. The doctors sometimes use this therapy as initial treatment. Targeted therapy can also be combined with other treatments. To use targeted therapy, health professionals test for any genetic changes that can help cancer cells grow and survive. Then, specific treatments are identified to kill cancerous cells or prevent them from growing. Targeted therapy can be given in the form of pill or through an infusion. It may also be given in combination with another treatment such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Types of targeted therapy
Based on the types of drugs used, there are two main types of targeted therapy:
Small molecule drugs: These can enter the cells and then interfere with the molecules there. They can also interfere with molecules on the cell surface.
Monoclonal antibodies: These are larger in size and act outside cancer cells. These target molecules on the surface of cancer cells or on the surrounding region. These antibodies are produced using cloned cells which produce antibodies that interact with targeted molecules. Monoclonal antibodies can also be used to inject a toxic molecule into a cancer cell.
Targeted therapy emerges as a successful treatment for specific cancers like incurable lung and metastatic breast cancer. It can be applied alone or combined with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. While presently limited to certain genetic mutations, ongoing research aims to unveil more cancer genes, paving the way for the development of additional targeted drugs.
Risk & Complications
Skin problems: Several targeted therapy drugs can cause a rash and other skin changes. The skin problems generally develop gradually after your treatment begins. They aren’t any signs of a drug allergy.
High blood pressure: Some targeted drugs can increase blood pressure. The doctor needs to watch your blood pressure if you are taking a drug that can lead to this side effect. Some individuals need take medicine to lower their blood pressure to the safe levels during treatment.
Bleeding or blood clotting problems: Certain targeted therapy drugs interfere with the blood vessel growth, which may lead to problems with bleeding and bruising. These problems aren’t common. Bleeding can be severe and life threatening, so tell the doctor if any you face any such issue.
Slow wound healing: Some of these drugs may interfere with wound healing by blocking the growth of new blood vessels. This can result in old wounds opening again and fresh wounds not healing. Consult the doctor if pain is experienced in the belly or vomiting.
Heart damage: Some drugs may damage the heart if used with some chemotherapy drugs. The doctor could test heart function before beginning treatment. Possible symptoms of heart damage might include increased coughing, chest pain, rapid weight gain, trouble breathing, dizziness, fainting, and swelling in the legs.
Autoimmune reactions: Some targeted therapy drugs work by boosting the immune system. It can lead to some side effects if the immune system begins to affect healthy parts of the body.
Swelling: Targeted therapy may cause facial swelling, particularly around the eyes. It can also lead to swelling in the legs and feet, as well as the hands. This doesn’t need treated, but a diuretic can be used in severe cases.
Preparation of Treatment
There are a few things to keep in mind as part of preparation for targeted therapy. Stay as healthy as possible before and during the treatment. Have a nourishing food, drink too much water, have enough sleep, and maintain balance between rest and physical activity. Healthy diet and regular exercise can help decrease some side effects of chemotherapy. Drinking lots of fluids after targeted therapy can prevent dehydration and assist the body in metabolizing chemotherapy drugs. Take vitamins and other supplements like herbs.
Best Doctors for Targeted Therapy Treatment
Best Hospitals for Targeted Therapy Treatment
To create targeted therapies, scientists focus on pinpointing the specific genetic alterations that fuel the growth and transformation of tumors. This specific genetic anomaly is referred to as the drug's "target." An optimal target for such therapies would be a protein exclusive to cancer cells, sparing healthy cells. Once the target is identified, researchers formulate a drug treatment designed to combat it. Targeted therapies exert diverse effects on cancer cells:
1. Block or Inhibit Signals: They can impede or deactivate signals that instruct cancer cells to proliferate.
2. Limit Cell Lifespan: These therapies may restrict the lifespan of cancer cells, preventing them from living longer than usual.
3. Eradicate Cancer Cells: Some targeted therapies are developed to directly destroy cancer cells.
To determine the most suitable targeted therapy, your doctor may prescribe tests to delve into the unique genetic makeup, proteins, and other factors specific to your cancer. This meticulous examination aids in identifying the most efficacious treatment for your particular case.
Cost of the treatment
Targeted therapy cost in India begins from $1,900. The cost of targeted therapy in India may vary depending on various factors, such as health condition, medical history, types of drugs used, stage of the cancer, the doctor's experience and expertise, the hospital and the city where the treatment is done. The cost of targeted therapy in India is much affordable compared to many other countries.
Recovery after targeted therapy
The recovery period for targeted therapy may vary depending of various factors. To promote smooth and speedy recovery, it is important to follow some recommendations to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet is important. A diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fat can supply essential nutrients to the body. Exercise can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and support immune function. It is necessary to do moderate-intensity exercise to keep body healthy and achieve speedy recovery.
Award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd
Dr. Mohammad Afzal Siddiqui is an award-winning CEO of Marlin Medical Assistance Pvt. Ltd., a professionally managed medical tourism holding company and the active Director of Alshifa Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd., a full-service medical tourism aggregation agency servicing JCI and NABH/ NABL accredited Hospitals across the country’s 5 locations.
In addition to Marlin, Alshifa also includes Media Group, which houses Arabic Medical Tourism e-Magazine healthandtour.com. The E-magazine “مجلة الصحة والسياحة” provides a wide scope of medical tourism information to healthcare travellers to find a safe, effective and cost-saving solution for their medical and healthcare needs. In addition to running E-Magazine, Dr. Mohammad Afzal also serves as Delhi-state coordinator in Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion focused on bringing India’s Healthcare closer to the world and smoothen world’s access to Indian Healthcare.