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Targeted therapy

Do you know, that you can increase the lifespan of cancer patients by targeted therapy while significantly reducing the side effects?

Chemotherapy is a carpet-bombing strategy that kills all the multiplying cells. This therapy not only kills the cancerous cells but also kills the healthy cells of the body. This is precisely the reason why patients undergoing chemotherapy have to face so many side effects right from hair loss to immunity loss.

What if there exists a way whereby we can kill the cancer cells in a very targeted way without killing the healthy cells of the body. 

Researchers across the globe are working continuously to achieve the same. 

There is significant progress made on this aspect and for select cancers, the specific cells are identified and killed in a targeted way. This therapy is called targeted therapy.

Targeted therapy in India is the more precise and effective drug therapy that can kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It can also restrict cancer cell growth. Medical Oncologists have started using targeted drug therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy for select cancer conditions.

Targeted therapy in India has increased the survival rates and reduced the probability of the recurrence of cancer.  

Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy treatment

Let’s understand the experience of Arina from Rwanda.

Arina is a 45-year-old professor in a reputed college in Kigali, Rwanda. She has two children and a caring husband. Arina is a very active, caring, and fun-loving woman. She loves to spend time with family and friends and visit different places. 

Two years ago, Arina started experiencing pain in the pelvic region with abdominal bloating and discomfort that didn’t suppress for a week. Her husband Eric got concerned and booked the appointment with the gynecologist. The doctor examined Arina and suggested an ultrasound and MRI. 

The test reports confirmed ovarian cancer. After listening to the news of cancer both Arina and Eric got shocked. Arina could not control her emotion and started visualizing the worst. However, Eric consoled her and supported her to fight the battle against cancer. The doctor advised Eric to consult an oncologist for further line of treatment.

Eric started researching the best with reasonable cost treatment options for ovarian cancer. While researching Eric came to the MedicoExperts website and learned about the Tumor board approach to treating cancer. 

After reading the information Eric left the inquiry on the MedicoExperts website. The MedicoExperts patient care department got in touch with Eric and arranged the online consultation with the highly experienced oncologist from its panel who is also the head of the tumor board. 

During the consultation, the doctor explained the treatment protocol to Eric and Arina and also cleared all the doubts regarding the treatment. The doctor also recommended the family to start the treatment as early as possible and explained the possible damages due to the delay. After understanding, all the aspects of the treatment Eric decided to come for targeted therapy  in India

After a week, Arian along with her husband came to India for the treatment. On the same day, she was admitted to the hospital. A pre-evaluation test was performed to check the current condition of cancer. 

A cancer antigen (CA) 125 blood test (ovarian cancer blood marker) depicted elevated levels of the biomarker protein which is 532 (the normal range is less than 50).

The tumor board decides to do the surgery to remove the Uterus, Ovaries, Omentum, and Fallopian tubes. 

The surgical oncologist performed the successful surgery and then a biopsy is done. 

As per biopsy reports, ovarian cancer of stage 3c (high-grade serous carcinoma) and tumor tissue were also detected in the omentum. Further, the doctor also recommended the genetic testing BRCA1 and BRCA2. 

Targeted therapy in India
Targeted therapy

After two weeks, a genetic test BRCA1 and BRCA2 was done. BRCA-2 is positive in Genetic Biopsy. The doctor decides to give chemotherapy with a combination of targeted therapy.

After completing six chemo cycles and 5 doses of targeted therapy, a cancer antigen (CA) 125 test was done and it came 6 (previously it was 532).

Since Arina BRCA-2 test was positive, the breast cancer team came into the picture and performed  Mammogram and MRI to rule out any spread in the breast. The reports were clear. 

The doctor prescribed further medication and recommended follow-up with MRI and blood tests after 6 months. 

After 6 months, Arina and Eric did the follow-up through the online video consultation. The progress was good and as expected.  

Arina and Eric were very happy with the treatment. 

This could be your story as well to defeat cancer. 

Now, let’s understand what targeted therapy is.

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Targeted Therapy

What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment in which drugs are used to “precisely identify” and attack specific cancer cells. 

Targeted therapy can be used alone or in combination with other treatments like traditional or standard chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. 

Knowing and understanding targeted therapy can significantly help you prepare for treatment and make informed decisions.

Let’s understand how targeted therapy works.

What is targeted therapy
How targeted therapy works?

How targeted therapy works?

Targeted therapies can detect and block certain types of messages sent inside a cancer cell that tell it to grow, or can find and attack specific areas or substances in cancer cells. 

The following are some of the substances found in cancer cells that become “targets” for targeted therapies:

  • On a cancer cell, too much of a certain protein
  • A cancer cell protein that is not found in normal cells.
  • On a cancer cell, a protein has been mutated (changed) in some way.
  • Gene (DNA) changes that do not occur in a healthy cell.

Targeted drugs have the ability to:

  • Block or destroy chemical signals that tell cancer cells to divide and grow.
  • Change the proteins in cancer cells to cause them to die.
  • Stop forming new blood vessels in order to feed cancer cells.
  • Make your immune system attack cancer cells.
  • Toxins are delivered to cancer cells to kill them, but not to normal cells.

Which test is required to before performing targeted cancer therapy?

Your doctor will need to test your tumor for biomarkers to find out if targeted therapy is right for you. Biomarker testing is also known as tumor testing, genomic testing, mutation testing, or molecular testing.

Biomarker testing is a method of looking for cancer-related genes, proteins, and other substances (also known as biomarkers or tumor markers). 

Biomarkers are specific to each person’s cancer. Some biomarkers influence the effectiveness of cancer treatments. Biomarker testing could aid you and your doctor in determining the best cancer treatment for you.

Knowing if cancer has a specific mutation can help determine the type of treatment a patient receives. 

The presence or absence of specific mutations can help determine who will benefit from certain drugs and who will not.

Now let’s understand the different types of targeted therapy.

test required before performing targeted therapy

What are the types of targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy is divided into several categories. Monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule drugs are the most common types.

Monoclonal antibodies are drugs that block a specific target on the outside of cancer cells. Monoclonal bodies are proteins that are designed to bind to specific targets on cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies can also deliver toxins directly to cancer cells. 

For example, They can aid chemotherapy and radiation therapy in reaching cancer cells more effectively.

  • Small-molecule drugs can stop cancer cells from multiplying and spreading by blocking the process. Small molecule drugs are small enough to enter cancer cells and kill them.

Angiogenesis inhibitors stop cancer cells from growing new blood vessels to get nutrients and oxygen. 

Some are focused in VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). Others are looking for substances that cause blood vessel growth. Targeted therapies can eliminate a tumor that already has a blood supply.

These interfere with normal cell functions, causing cancer cells to die. For example Bortezomib (multiple myeloma).

The most common targeted therapies are signal transduction inhibitors. They suppress signals that tell cells to divide excessively and quickly.

Trastuzumab, a breast cancer drug, is one example (Herceptin). The HER2 receptor, which is found on the outside of cells, detects signals that tell the cell to divide and grow. 

Because HER2-positive breast cancers produce an excessive amount of this protein, the cancer is constantly told to grow” 

Trastuzumab can slow or stop this type of breast cancer by latching onto HER2 receptor proteins.

Now let’s understand what types of cancer in which targeted therapy is used for the treatment.

Now, Let’s understand when targeted therapy is used.

targeted therapy

When is targeted therapy used?

Targeted therapy in India has improved cancer survival rates for several types of cancer, and many people respond well to it. However, not everyone with cancer can benefit from targeted therapy.

Typically the doctor used targeted therapy:

  • Before undergoing surgery to shrink cancer (neoadjuvant therapy)
  • Following surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells (adjuvant therapy)
  • After initial treatments for cancer if cancer has returned or if other treatments have failed (second-line therapy or palliative treatment)
  • As a long-term treatment, to try to prevent or control the spread of cancer (maintenance treatment).

What are the side effects of targeted therapy?

The type of targeted therapy you receive and how your body reacts to the therapy will determine the side effects you experience. Targeted therapy side effects may include:

Diarrhea and liver problems are the most common side effects of targeted therapy. 

  • Rashes or dry or flaking skin
  • Cracked or inflamed fingernails or cuticles
  • Diarrhea or digestive problems
  • Impaired blood clotting or wound healing
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores

A hole in the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, or gallbladder occurs very rarely.

Many of these side effects can be treated with medication. These drugs can help prevent or treat side effects.

The majority of side effects from targeted therapy fade away once treatment is completed.

side effect of targeted therapy
Cost of targeted therapy

What is the cost of targeted therapy in India?

The targeted therapy cost in India is determined by the type of cancer, stage of cancer, and cancer-affected area.

Typically the cost of targeted therapy in India is around 2 lakh to 3 lakh. 

What is the success rate of targeted therapy in India?

Targeted therapy has improved the survival rates for several types of cancer. Many people respond well to targeted therapy. Targeted therapy helps to increase the survival rates by 40 to 60%.  

success rate of targeted therapy

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Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

How is targeted therapy given?

 Small-molecule drugs come in the form of pills or capsules that can be swallowed.

Monoclonal antibodies are usually injected into a vein through a needle.

How often will I receive targeted therapy?

The frequency and duration of targeted therapy are determined by various factors, including:

  • Cancer types
  • Targeted therapy type
  • How’s your body responded to the treatment

Depending on the above factors, you may receive therapy every day, every week, every month, or in cycles. 

 

If you have any concerns about the procedure or duration of targeted therapy you can contact us at +919769516280. We will be happy to assist you.

How will I know if targeted therapy is working?

You will see your doctor frequently while receiving targeted therapy. The doctor will examine you physically and inquire about your health. 

Medical tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, and various types of scans, will be performed on you. Regular visits and tests will allow the doctor to determine whether the treatment is effective.

How is targeted therapy different from chemotherapy?

All cells that multiply quickly are affected by chemotherapy drugs. This means that the drugs can kill cancer cells while also harming other rapidly multiplying cells, such as healthy cells in the mouth, stomach, bone marrow, and hair.

This is why mouth ulcers, nausea, low blood cell counts (leading to infections or anemia), and hair loss are common chemotherapy side effects.

 

The way targeted therapy drugs work is different. They concentrate on cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. Although targeted therapy has fewer side effects for many people, it can still cause a variety of side effects.

How long do side effects last after receiving targeted therapy?

Throughout your treatment, you may experience side effects. The side effects of target therapy differ from person to person. The majority of targeted therapy side effects fade after a few months of treatment.

What occurs prior to targeted therapy?

 If targeted therapy is the right treatment for the type of cancer you have, your healthcare provider will confirm it. 

Your blood or tissue from biopsies may need to be tested by your healthcare provider. They’ll look for specific gene changes or mutations in the samples, looking for targets that are likely to respond to certain treatments.

What happens during targeted therapy?

 An overview of what may occur during targeted therapy:

  • You can get targeted therapy by swallowing a pill, getting a shot under your skin (subcutaneously), or getting an IV (intravenously).
  • You might get targeted therapy in addition to other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Every day, once a week, several times a week, once a month, or less frequently, you may receive targeted therapy.
  • You may need to take a break from therapy at times.

 

Blood tests, X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and other tests may be used by the doctor to determine how well the targeted therapy is working. They’ll also inquire about any treatment-related side effects you are having.

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