Targeted therapies for childhood cancers

Targeted therapies target and attack cancer cells, without destroying healthy tissue.

Targeted therapy is a cancer treatment that specifically targets a person’s cancer cells and the molecules which tell the cells to grow and spread.

By attacking these molecules in the cancer cell, targeted therapies can block the abnormal growth of those cells which cause the cancer.

How is targeted therapy different to chemotherapy?

Targeted therapy only targets and attacks cancer cells. It is different from chemotherapy in that chemotherapy kills all rapidly-dividing cancer cells but also attacks the body’s fast-growing healthy cells (such as hair follicles or cells in the mouth).

Some targeted therapies are only available through clinical trials, and not all cancers respond effectively to this treatment. Depending on the cancer type, targeted therapy may be used with, or instead of, other cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery.

For more information on targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer in children and young adults, speak to your Paediatric Haematologist-Oncologist.

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