Targeted therapies block cancer from growing and spreading by interfering with specific genes or proteins necessary for tumor growth. This approach differs greatly from the traditional weapons against cancer such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Scientists have long been working to better understand how a cancer cell becomes a cancer cell and how its vulnerabilities can be exploited to deliver better therapies with fewer side effects. While we have made notable progress in improving outcomes for people living with cancer over the last several decades, there has been a growing interest in developing highly targeted medicines to treat cancer. We’ve now realized that targeted drugs with the most selectivity often have the greatest potential for maximizing patients’ clinical benefit.
Designing selective drugs is the first important learning in the field of targeted therapies. The second important learning is that targeted therapies often deliver most clinical benefit when examined in the patients most likely to derive benefit. These learnings have been enabled by genetic testing. In the past ten years alone, we’ve seen an incredible shift in cancer care – one that uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to better diagnose and treat. Precision medicine has led us to the understanding that many types of cancer need to be treated at the genetic level – treatment chosen based on a patient’s specific genetic alteration. Increasingly, genetic testing is shaping the development and use of some of the newest cancer treatments, and Loxo Oncology’s programs are designed to leverage some of the most recent advances in genetic testing to find the patients most likely to derive significant benefit from our targeted therapies.