Innovative treatments gaining importance every day in cancer treatment offer options that will contribute to the life expectancy and quality of patients.
While classical chemotherapy applications maintain their place and validity in treatment, targeted specific applications such as smart drugs and immunotherapies increase the success rates. Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at Memorial Kayseri Hospital. Dr. Veli Berk gave information about the special treatments targeting the tumor and positively affecting the treatment processes of the patients before the “1-7 April Cancer Week”.
The importance of chemotherapies, which are accepted as the gold standard in treatment in many types of cancer, is still valid today and the properties of these drugs to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells are used. The last point reached in cancer treatment is the characteristics of the tumor and personalized treatment options.
Patient and tumor cell specific drug therapies
In addition to standard chemotherapies, smart drugs and immunotherapies that provide successful results in many different cancers are planned specifically for the patient and the tumor cell. Smart drugs and immunotherapies that only target the tumor and do not adversely affect healthy cells or can minimize it; It is used alone or in combination with chemotherapy in appropriate patients, considering the type of tumor, age, general condition of the patient and other disease factors.
Minimum side effects with targeted smart drugs
The negative side effects of chemotherapy in cancer, that is, drug treatment, which also affect the psychology of the patients, are reduced thanks to the targeted smart drugs used today. “Target-oriented smart drugs”, which are frequently used for every cancer type and provide successful results in treatment with their new derivatives, are used in two ways, orally pill or intravenously. Smart drugs that only target cancerous cells and minimize side effects on healthy cells; It also reduces side effects such as hair and eyebrow loss and increases the quality of life of patients. These drugs, which have the property of blocking the growth signals of cancer cells, create a strong effect on the tumor and attach to the growth receptors of the cancer cell and prevent the cancerous mass from receiving growth stimulation.
Classical chemotherapy and targeted therapy are different from each other
If the desired amount of chemotherapy drug is given to the cancer, it can be ensured that the diseased area is completely eliminated. However, chemotherapies cannot be applied in high doses due to the side effects of the drug in the body and this affects the success of the treatment. In classical chemotherapy, healthy cells cannot be separated from cancerous cells and side effects occur due to the fact that healthy cells are affected by the drug during treatment. Since chemotherapy has a property that affects rapidly dividing cells, fast dividing normal cells such as hair and mucous membranes are also affected.
In smart drugs, cancer cells are targeted "specifically". Thus, both an effective treatment is performed and a high success rate is achieved. The individual's tumor cells are tested for compliance with the targeted drug, and targeted drug therapy is initiated if the patient is able to obtain maximum benefit from this treatment. Since these featured treatments have the mechanism to distinguish between tumor cells and healthy cells, health cells suffer minimal damage from the treatment and side effects on the patient are minimized.
Effective in many types of cancer
Targeted drugs; It is especially used in brain tumors, head and neck, lung, stomach, breast, kidney and prostate cancer. Due to the developments in smart drug technologies, the increasing use of these small molecule or antibody drugs does not eliminate the presence of classical chemotherapies, and smart drugs are combined with chemotherapies in some types of cancer.
High chance of success in treatment
The patient's suitability to use targeted drugs and taking these treatments also contributes positively to the healing process. For example; Patients using smart drugs in breast cancer benefit from treatment 50% more than those who do not. In lung cancer, the effect of smart drugs on the treatment success of the patient increases to 60-70%. Thanks to smart drugs targeting cancer cells, patients' life expectancy and treatment success increase, as well as their quality of life.
Immune system cells support cancer treatment
It is known that a large number of cells in the body fight cancer, but this effect of the cells can occur up to a certain point. Nowadays, thanks to the immunotherapies that have risen to the top among the targeted treatments of cancer, cancer is fought by using the person's own immune system and defense mechanisms. Immunotherapy, which defends the body's immune system more effectively against the attacks of cancerous cells, can stop the spread and growth of cancerous cells. In immunotherapy, also called biological or biotherapy, materials produced by the body or in the laboratory are used to heal and restore the body's defense system function. The goal is to prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. Immunotherapy provides cancer treatment in 3 main ways.
In immunotherapy, also called biological or biotherapy, materials produced by the body or in the laboratory are used to heal and restore the body's defense system function. The goal is to prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. The body's immune system; When it detects harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, which are antigens, it produces "antibodies", ie proteins that fight infection. For this, monoclonal antibodies produced in the laboratory act like antibodies produced naturally by the body when administered to the patient. Monoclonal antibodies are also known as a type of therapy that targets faulty genes or proteins that contribute to the growth and development of cancerous cells. There are different types of immunotherapy treatment including monoclonal antibodies, non-specific immunotherapies and cancer vaccines.
What effect do monoclonal antibodies cause when attached to a cancer cell?
It prevents the rapid growth of cancer cells, Chemicals in the body called growth factors bind to receptors on the surface of the cells and send signals that tell the cells to grow.
Some cancer cells make additional copies of the growth factor receptor that allow cancer cells to grow faster than normal cells. Monoclonal antibodies can block these receptors and prevent the growth signal from passing through.
Some monoclonal antibodies carry other cancer drugs directly to cancer cells. Once monoclonal antibodies bind to a cancer cell, the cancer treatment it carries enters the cell and causes the death of cancer cells without damaging other healthy cells.