The Evolution of Cancer Treatment
20 important years
The Late 1990’s
Targeted Therapy becomes the focal point of oncology. Chemotherapy became less the focus for drug companies. The industry was all about targeted therapy. In the early 2000s, targeted drugs started to become approved.
Example: Glivec. A blockbuster drug to treat a chronic leukemia called CML. It came out in a pill form. And it nearly eradicated the disease. Patients took it for years and were disease free. This is the drug that “started the revolution” in the industry to target cancer.
The development of drugs that target a specific cancer continues. There are yet no other drugs that work as well as Glivec for CML.
Immunotherapy takes the stage. The idea: leverage the power of our immune system to kill the cancer cells. We know that the immune system can be a powerful weapon if we can somehow get it to recognize a cancer.
The idea is to introduce drugs called “checkpoint inhibitors” that get the immune system to recognize the cancer.
Example: Melanoma. This was the first disease that these drugs were approved for. Note: Melanoma does not respond to chemotherapy. These “checkpoint inhibitors” were major breakthroughs for Melanoma.
Now – Hirschfeld Oncology
In our practice, we make use of all of the most recent advancements in cancer treatments. These answers include both immunotherapy and targeted therapy.