Targeted therapy

Definition of targeted therapy

targeted therapy

(TAR-geh-ted THAYR-uh-pee)
A type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to target specific molecules that cancer cells need to survive and spread. Targeted therapies work in different ways to treat cancer. Some stop cancer cells from growing by interrupting signals that cause them to grow and divide, stopping signals that help form blood vessels, delivering cell-killing substances to cancer cells, or starving cancer cells of hormones they need to grow. Other targeted therapies help the immune system kill cancer cells or directly cause cancer cell death. Most targeted therapies are either small-molecule drugs or monoclonal antibodies. Also called molecularly targeted therapy.

Source: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms