Globally, about 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Most patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiation or equally poisonous drugs to combat this ravenous disease. Many times, these treatments cause awful side affects and inflict the patient with even more maladies. However, a new range of targeted molecular therapies may, eventually, be able to help millions of patients without harming the patient’s body more than the cancer already has.
How it works
According to My Cancer Genome, with molecular therapy “therapeutic monoclonal antibodies target specific antigens found on the [cancerous] cell[‘s] surface.” This therapy acts on a molecular level to destroy cancer cells without destroying other healthy cells that would be affected by most other treatments. A pathologist works closely with the patient, to determine what their molecular targets are going to be. Unfortunately, all cancers are different so molecular therapy is not a feasible option for everyone or all types of cancer. However, this treatment has the potential to help millions maintain a higher quality of life while undergoing cancer treatment.
Types of cancers molecular therapies are effective on
While molecular therapy may not work in all cases, researchers at Penn Medicine have found that it can be effective in these types of cancers: brain cancer, breast cancer, GI cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer and thyroid cancer.
Molecular therapy limitations
The National Cancer Institute has identified several curbs in molecular therapy treatments. Cancer cells may become immune to the therapies through mutation or new pathways. Therefore, it is sometimes beneficial to use molecular therapies in combination. Additionally, sometimes it may be exceedingly difficult to identify a target for the therapy. What may work for one case of breast or brain cancer, may not work for another.
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