"Smart bombs" against cancer

Using the combination of drugs targeted against specific proteins that attack tumours and avoid the indiscriminate destruction of cells typical of chemotherapy could be the next frontier of cancer therapies. Some preliminary studies show that the combination of targeted treatments (such as Herceptin with Tykerb lung cancer), might be effective in patients who don't respond to only one of the drugs administered. Targeted therapies act as a sort of "smart bombs", attacking the cancer cells without harming healthy ones while chemotherapy affects indiscriminately normal and diseased cells. The combination of Herceptin and Tykarb is one of several possibilities under those treatments. According to j. Baselga (University Hospital Vall d'hebron, Barcelona), all chemical models suggest the superiority of combinations of drugs, although lacking experimental data to support this hypothesis. M. Socinski (University of North Carolina) considers that, since almost all cancers are caused by a multiplicity of factors, face them with a combination of targeted drugs is the right approach. Currently several research groups have planned clinical trials with various combinations of anticancer drugs. Some of these drugs are attacking a single factor (e.g., Avastin hits the VEGF protein, cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to cancer cells), while others affect multiple targets (like Sorafenib, a drug for the treatment of kidney cancer). Will the results of the research underway to clarify the real effectiveness of therapies based on combinations of drugs compared to alternatives currently in use.


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