Drugs directed against molecular targets

A therapeutic target is a substance located in any part of a cell capable of recognizing a drug and producing cellular response.

These drugs are designed to act against specific molecules (target molecules) required for tumour development by blocking or deactivating them, thus producing cellular death or impeding cell growth.

The most common drugs directed against molecular targets currently used can work on several levels:

  • Cell membrane: on the extracellular level, monoclonal antibodies which act on receptors and on the intracellular level, a drug that inhibits an enzyme called tyrosine kinases.
  • Intracellular levels: with cell cycle inhibitors, proteasome inhibitors and cell-signaling pathways.
  • Immune systems: through vaccines

These are examples of drugs directed against molecular targets: trastuzumab, lapatinib, cetuximab, panitumumab,imatinib, erlotinib, gefitinib, sunitinib, bevacizumab, everolimus, temsirolimus, bortezomid, etc..

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