Targeted therapy refers to treatment that goes after the gene or protein that is responsible for allowing cancer to grow. Targeted therapies are provided by medical oncologists, like Renato Martins, MD at SCCA. For lung cancer, targeted therapy comes from monoclonal antibodies.
Monoclonal antibodies are the targeting agents that bind to a specific substance.
Bevacizumab (Avastin) is one drug used for this type of treatment. It prevents new blood vessels from forming (a process called angiogenesis) on a tumor, effectively starving the tumor so it cannot reproduce.
Other targeting medications include cetuximab (Erbitux) and erlotinib (Tarceva), which also target and block a protein on non-small cell lung cancer tumors called the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Taking one of these drugs may reduce the ability of the cancer cells to grow.