Newest Advancements in Cancer Care

Precision cancer medicine offers higher success rates

How to Beat Cancer without Chemo

Pillar 3: Advanced and Targeted Treatment Options

Targeted Treatment Helps Cancer Patients to Live Longer, with a Better Quality of Life

In the past, cancer was thought to be a one-size-fits-all type of disease, and was tested and treated accordingly. However, scientists now know that every person’s cancer is comprised of a unique combination of genetically inherited gene mutations and cell mutations that have arisen as a result of lifestyle choices and/or environmental factors.

Thus, your cancer is truly unique to you.

"In every area of cancer treatment we have largely functioned on a one-size-fits-all basis because we didn’t have tools to do any better." – Dr. Robert Stein, consultant at University College London

Happily, science has evolved to provide us with tests that allow us to discover exactly what is causing your cancer to grow, in addition to literally thousands of targeted cancer therapy options. These are drugs that have been designed to remove only the cells containing your mutation, leaving your healthy cells unharmed, leading to survival rates that far surpass those of standard chemotherapy and radiation. (For example, studies have shown that tumour shrinkage rates and progression-free survival are greatly improved with precision oncology.)

Based on the most advanced medical science, this innovative approach to cancer treatment enables us to:

  • Identify the source of your cancer
  • Identify targeted therapies that will benefit you the most
  • Give you less drug treatment than standard care
  • Give you treatment that leaves your healthy cells alone, and therefore has fewer and less severe side effects
Medic with sample tube

Standard Chemotherapy vs Targeted Therapy

Standard treatment for cancer usually involves surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or some combination of these. Treatment with chemotherapy drugs and radiation aims to slow the growth of cancer, keep it from spreading, and kill any cancerous cells that have spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).

Problems with chemotherapy and radiation:

  1. Chemotherapy works by attacking cells that are actively growing and dividing.
  2. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their genes and preventing them from growing and dividing.
  3. Both types of therapy can harm all cells that are growing and dividing in your body, including healthy cells.
  4. This often leads to harmful side effects, such as the potential for the creation of new mutations, in addition to common symptoms such as hair loss, nausea and fatigue.

It is to everyone’s benefit that science has evolved to offering a better, more effective form of cancer treatment: targeted cancer therapies.


New Developments in Cancer Research

Along the way, researchers have learned some useful information about how cancers work.

Medical science now shows that:

  • Specific types of cancer are frequently associated with specific genetic mutations.
  • While not every cancer will have the same mutations, a significant percentage of a certain type of cancer will have a similar mutation.
  • Cancers with these mutations usually have a more predictable response to certain drug treatments, compared to cancers without these mutations.
  • Most tumours typically have more than one mutation driving them.

So in order to ensure the most successful cancer treatment outcome, your doctor must be aware of all mutations that are present. Oncologists can (and do) often predict one common mutation that’s likely present – but without information regarding the other mutations that are involved, the treatment plan may be potentially incorrect.

Cancer Cells

How Gene Mutations Cause Cancer

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and division of abnormal cells, and there are multiple factors that can contribute to this uncontrolled growth.

Gene mutations may produce:

  • The malfunctioning of certain proteins involved in controlling cell growth and maturation
  • The malfunctioning of the DNA of the gene that codes for that protein
  • A defective protein that cannot stop cell growth
  • A protein with altered function that stimulates cell growth

These gene mutations have long been the subject of medical research for cancer innovation. Knowledge of gene mutations gives us a better understanding of cancers and how to develop effective drugs. For some time now the overarching goal in the medical research community has been to create better drugs (targeted cancer therapies) that:

  • Disrupt a specific step in cancer growth
  • Do minimal damage to normal cells surrounding the tumour
  • Do minimal damage to normal cells throughout your body

Fortunately, the future is now here: targeted cancer therapies do exist, and new targeted cancer drugs are being developed daily.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and wants to ensure they’re receiving treatment that’s been demonstrated to be most effective for their form of cancer, please contact CTOAM today.

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