This type of cancer treatment uses drugs as well but is different from traditional chemotherapy in the way the drugs work. The drugs used in targeted therapy pinpoint cancer cells specifically, sparing normal cells, thus causing less harm to normal cells and limiting side effects. Certain types of targeted therapy block the effect of some proteins, enzymes, or other molecules that help the distribution and multiplication of cancer cells. Some other types of targeted therapy assist in sending toxic substances directly to cancer cells in order to destroy them or assist the immune system in killing off the cancer cells.
The main difference with targeted therapy is that it acts on precise molecular targets that are connected to cancer while other chemotherapies act on all cells that multiply fast, both cancerous and healthy. Other chemotherapies kill cells in general while targeted therapy interacts with and blocks only certain types of cancerous cells. Targeted therapy is also helpful in stopping signals sent from the tumour to create new blood vessels to help its growth.
This therapy is a type of systemic therapy as it can access cancer cells anywhere in your body and is used to treat certain types of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and melanoma.