Understanding Bone Cancer: Targeted Therapy

Research is constantly being done into the molecular and genetic changes in cancer cells. As a result, newer drugs are being developed to target some of these changes. These drugs are called targeted therapy drugs. They have shown to be very effective in treating chordomas and other bone cancers. They sometimes can be effective when chemotherapy is not.

Some chordomas have gene mutations or defects. These make proteins that tell the cells to grow. The drug imatinib (Gleevec®) is a targeted therapy drug that can block the signals from these genes. This can cause some tumors to stop growing or even shrink a little. Imatinib is used to treat chordomas that have spread or have come back after treatment. Imatinib has been used to treat chordoma for several years, but it isn't approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat this type of cancer. It is approved to treat more common cancers.

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