Targeted therapies are drugs made to work for specific cancers. They aim to target the cells responsible for cancer growth or spread without damaging your non-cancer cells.
Your doctor may recommend genomic testing to find your cancer sub-type and mutations. This allows them to see if there is a match for a targeted therapy. Targeted therapies are not available or suitable for everyone. Your doctor is available to discuss their recommendations and risks with you.
The two main types of targeted therapies are inhibitors and antibody therapies.
Inhibitors (small molecules)
Inhibit means to block. Inhibitor drugs block what helps your cancer grow. This may include blocking proteins or cells.
Some people with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) have a IDH1 or IDH2 mutation. Targeted therapies aim to inhibit (block) the effects of this mutation. This allows the body to respond to the cancer better and help treat AML.
Monoclonal antibodies and bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTE®)
Antibody therapy behaves like the antibodies our body makes to fight viruses and bacteria.
Our immune system naturally makes antibodies (immunoglobulin). Monoclonal antibodies are a type of drug made to work like the body’s immune response. They are created in a lab and can be mass-produced. All names of monoclonal antibodies end with ‘mab’.
New bispecific antibodies (BiTEs®) can bring an immune cell (the T cell) and the cancer cell together. This helps the immune system to identify and kill the cancer cells.