Everyone knows someone impacted by cancer. Whether it’s your grandfather, your mom, your next-door neighbor, your best friend, or even you, cancer touches not only the patient in profound ways, but doctors and family members as well.
Recent advancements in the understanding of molecular genetics have made it possible to pinpoint the disruptions in genetic pathways that initiate and contribute to the progression of cancer. These genetic or molecular abnormalities cause a normal cell to transform into a cancer cell. Fortunately, cancer can now be treated by targeting those specific malfunctioning molecules and pathways. A targeted therapy can more specifically attack cancer cells and spare or reduce side effects on the healthy functioning cells. Targeted therapies come in different forms based on the target they are attacking. It can be in the form of antibodies like herceptin for treating breast cancer, or it can target hormone receptors like tamoxifen also for treating breast cancer. These targeted therapies can work alone or with existing conventional therapies to make them more effective.
Yogesh Gandhi, MD
Virginia Cancer Institute
Richmond | 804.431.1100