As of April 2014, targeted cancer therapy is one of the newest treatments for several types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Immunotherapy, which involves the genetic modification of T-cells, is another breakthrough used to treat recurrent and aggressive cancers such as leukemia, WebMD reports.
Targeted cancer therapy is a form of precision medicine that uses specially created drugs that affect cancerous cells at a molecular level. The drugs prevent cancerous cells from dividing rather than killing them along with normal cells, which is the case with conventional chemotherapy, as the National Cancer Institute reports. Other newer treatments for cancer include a spectrum of drugs that condition the immune system to recognize tumor cells more efficiently and target the specific cell types belonging to tumor cells.
Immunotherapy has been successfully attempted in the treatment of leukemia. This treatment modifies the patient's own T-cells to recognize increased protein production, the presence of specific mutated proteins associated with cancerous cells and chromosomal anomalies. Doctors are considering immunotherapy as a viable treatment for several types of cancer, including ovarian cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer, according to WebMD as of November 2014. FDA-approved drugs such as nivolumab are also showing promise in the treatment of cancers that doctors consider difficult to treat, as Time.com reports in March 2015.