Thursday, December 6, 2007

Targeted Breast cancer Therapies


Targeted cancer therapies are cancer treatments that target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein, an enzyme, or the formation of new blood vessels. Targeted therapies don't harm normal, healthy cells. Most targeted therapies are antibodies that work like the antibodies made by the immune system. So targeted therapies are also called immune targeted therapies. In this way, targeted therapies are very different from more traditional types of anti-cancer therapies.

* Herceptin
Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab) is the best known targeted therapy for breast cancer. Herceptin only works against breast cancers that have extra HER2 genes and make too many HER2 protein receptors. Herceptin does have a number of potentially serious side effects.
* Tykerb
Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib) is another targeted therapy that works against breast cancers that have extra HER2 genes. Tykerb has been approved by the FDA to be given in combination with Xeloda (chemical name: capecitabine) to treat advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracyclines, taxanes, and Herceptin.
* Avastin
Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) is also a targeted therapy. Avastin targets the new blood vessels that feed cancer cells. Avastin has been approved by the FDA to treat certain types of advanced cancers of the lung, colon and rectum. Researchers are studying Avastin in combination with Taxol (chemical name: paclitaxel) to see if the combo can slow the progression of advanced breast cancer better than Taxol alone.

New targeted therapies are emerging on a regular basis. Stay tuned to for the latest research results in this area of treatment.

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