- Need help understanding a term?
Use our cancer glossary to learn more.
Biologic and Targeted Therapy
Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other materials that stop the growth and spread of cancer by getting in the way of specific particles that cause tumor growth and development. Because scientists often call these molecules “molecular targets,” targeted cancer therapies are sometimes called “molecularly targeted drugs,” “molecularly targeted therapies,” or other similar technical medical names.
By focusing on molecular and cellular changes that are specific to cancer, targeted cancer therapies may be more effective for many patients than other types of treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and less harmful to a their normal cells.
Many targeted cancer therapies have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of specific types of cancer in patients. Others are being studied in clinical trials, and many more are in preclinical testing (research studies with animals).
Targeted cancer therapies are being studied for use alone, in combination with other targeted therapies, and in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.