Targeted Cancer Treatments Use New “Designer” Drugs

Exciting news has developed concerning the use of so-called “designer” drugs for targeted cancer treatments. An article from ABC News tells us that progress is being made by researchers who are working to create drugs that will “attack and hopefully kill [specific types of] cancer cells, or at least slow their growth”.

This is huge, if possible, since current therapies that are designed to kill cancer cells also attack and harm healthy cells. This means that, beyond the damage already being done to their bodies by the cancer itself, people taking current cancer drugs often suffer horrible and familiar side effects, becoming thin and weak, losing their hair and developing an unhealthy pallor.

The Future of Cancer Treatment

“These molecular ‘designer’ drugs are created working backward from a known abnormal molecule specific to a certain type of cancer. Once the molecule is identified, a drug can be designed that interferes with that molecule… by design, [creating] a very limited spectrum of use.”

Known as ‘molecularly targeted therapy’ … “The treatment consists of drugs designed at the molecular level of the cell to specifically attack and kill only the cancer cells of a specific type of cancer. And they are tailor-made to recognize specific molecules unique to specific cancers.”

“If we understand the critical abnormalities that drive a cancer, we can target the cancer with an effective and non-toxic therapy,” said Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Leukemia Program at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, who is the main researcher on the drug, which is being developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

The article references two studies, the results of which were published in a recent issue of the New England Journal of medicine, which specifically targeted leukemia treatments.

Further, based on clinical trials that showed positive results, the FDA is planning to fast track the new treatments through additional human trials, in an effort to bring them to market more quickly than normal.

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