Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

Targeted therapy and immunotherapy are drugs that target specific characteristics of cancer cells. They may help people with advanced colon and rectal cancers live longer and feel better. At Henry Ford Health, our medical oncologists are at the forefront of the latest cancer-fighting drugs. They select the right combination of therapies for you.

Our approach to targeted therapies and immunotherapies for colorectal cancer

At our colorectal cancer program, you’ll find:

  • Molecular tumor board: Our dedicated molecular tumor board focuses on evaluating which treatments will work best for patients with tumors that have specific genetic changes. We tailor treatment to each tumor’s unique genetic characteristics, or DNA fingerprint.
  • Colorectal cancer clinical trials: We use clinical trials to investigate new drugs and combinations of treatments, such as chemotherapies and targeted therapies. When you choose us for care, you can access studies and therapies that aren’t widely available. Learn more about our colorectal cancer clinical trials.
  • Care for metastatic colorectal cancer: Henry Ford is known for our expertise in treating advanced colorectal cancer. If you have colon, rectal or anal cancer that has spread to other parts of your body or returned after treatment, we may be able to offer new treatment options.

How we use immunotherapy for colorectal cancer

Your immune system naturally has checkpoints that prevent it from attacking healthy cells. But these checkpoints also prevent it from destroying certain harmful cells, like those in tumors. Drugs called checkpoint inhibitors turn off this safety feature and allow immune cells to attack cancer cells.

We typically use immunotherapy for certain cancer types. For instance, people with cancer linked to specific genetic changes tend to respond better to immunotherapy. We may combine multiple immunotherapy drugs or prescribe them with chemotherapy  for better results.

Take the next step

Contact the colorectal cancer care team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online.

How we use targeted therapy for colorectal cancer

Targeted therapy, or molecular therapy, uses drugs to target specific molecules in cancer cells that control how the cells behave. For example, tumors need a blood supply to live. Some drugs target the protein that allows tumors to make blood vessels. Without a blood supply, cancer cells die. Other drugs target proteins that help cancer cells grow and divide, so the cancer doesn’t continue spreading.

Targeted therapies don’t affect healthy cells, so they often have fewer side effects than chemotherapy. But targeted therapy isn’t effective for everyone. We test tumors for specific genetic changes. This information helps us determine if you’re a good candidate for targeted therapy.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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