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Keys to Unlock Cancer: Targeted Therapy

Carol S. Viele
ONF 2005, 32(5), 935-940 DOI: 10.1188/05.ONF.935-940

For decades, perhaps even centuries, researchers have searched for a cure for cancer. The effort has taken many approaches, from surgery to cytotoxic or cytostatic chemotherapy to radiation therapy to agents that alter the cellular microenvironment to preventive measures, such as nutrition, screening, and medications. The ultimate goal of each intervention has been to specifically affect the malignant cells, leaving normal cells intact. Unfortunately, this simple concept has been difficult to implement. The problem has been two-fold: first, identifying a unique property of malignant cells (target) and second, developing an agent that interacts solely with that property. Agents developed to interact with such targets are called targeted therapy. Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are two such targets.

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