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What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy is the use of a drug created to precisely target and stop cancer cells. The drugs used are designed to respond to genetic features common to cancer cells but not healthy cells; they can stop the cancer cells from multiplying, they can starve them of bloodflow or hormones needed to grow, they can help deliver chemotherapy drugs to the cells, or sometimes targeted therapy drugs can just kill the cancer cells directly. Not all cancer cells have a drug that can target them, however, and sometimes the cancer cells can become immune to their effects. Other considerations include their side effects, which can include liver problems, skin problems, diarrhea, and high blood pressure. Note too that these drugs can be very expensive. Targeted therapy drugs may be taken orally (small-molecule drugs like regorafenib) or intravenously (monoclonal antibodies such as alemtuzumab).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.