The development of targeted therapeutics for cancer continues to receive intense research attention as laboratories and pharmaceutical companies seek to develop drugs and technologies that improve treatment efficacy and mitigate harmful side effects. In the aftermath of World War I, it was discovered that mustard gas destroys rapidly dividing cells and could be used to treat cancer. Since then, chemotherapy has remained a predominant treatment for cancer; however, the destruction of dividing cells throughout the body yields devastating side effects including off-target damage of the digestive tract, bone marrow, skin, and reproductive tract. Furthermore, the high mutation rate of cancerous cells often renders chemotherapy ineffective long-term. Therapies with improved specificity, localization, and efficacy are redefining cancer treatment. Herein, we define and summarize the principal advancements in targeted cancer treatment and briefly comment on the march towards personalized medicine in the treatment of human cancer.
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