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Several innovative new treatments have been developed in recent years to improve conventional cancer treatments. These biological treatments are based on the use of antibodies or growth factors for specific binding to over-expressed tumor-specific structures on the cell surface. Treatment with antibodies in cancer therapy is promising, and the development of new drugs is ongoing. By conjugating antibodies or growth factors to toxic substances, targeted toxins have been developed. These conjugates are able to bind specifically to tumor cells and the resulting uptake of the toxin causes cell death. Thus, these targeted toxins can be designed to treat specific cancer types as well as reducing side effects on healthy cells. Other studies concentrate on the use of liposomes to deliver these organelle-like structures loaded with toxic substances to tumor cells. The main objective of all these targeted therapies is the selective killing of tumor cells. New techniques, such as RNA interference, pave the way for promising innovative strategies of great potential.
As conventional therapies against cancer are still inadequate for complete remission of tumors, the development of improved therapies like the targeted tumor therapies is of great interest. Many excellent groups are currently working on that field of science to improve the existing therapies and to gain new insights into the mechanisms underlying the successful elimination of tumor cells by targeted toxins and other targeted therapies.
The aim of the third Symposium on Targeted Tumor Therapies was to summarize the ongoing efforts in drug design and production as well as in target recognition. Moreover, the symposium offered the opportunity to present the success of recent clinical studies with targeted anti-tumor drugs. It further allowed the participants to exchange new concepts and ideas for improvements of existing therapies.