One of the most serious limiting factors of the drugs traditionally used to treat cancer has been the extremely narrow therapeutic window. Therapeutic window is the term that doctors use to describe the range of dosages of a given drug that has a clinical effect without causing severe side effects. The therapeutic window begins at the point where the drug first starts to cause notable clinical effects. It ends at the point where the patient is in a state of overdose.
Most drugs that are available over-the-counter have an extremely wide therapeutic window. This means that the drugs begin taking effect with small dosages and are fairly safe, even up to extremely high dosages. However, drugs that are not available over-the-counter, usually requiring a prescription, often have a much narrower therapeutic window. This means that the drugs in question may need higher amount to begin taking clinical effect. It also means that these drugs are much easier to induce a state of overdose in the patient taking them.
But there’s a third class of drugs that is even more dangerous due to an extremely narrow therapeutic window. These are drugs that can only be administered by medical professionals in a hospital setting. Examples of such drugs include anesthesia and chemotherapy, both drugs need to be administered under the careful observation of a trained medical professional.
In the case of chemotherapy, this narrow therapeutic window has been a chief cause of chemotherapy’s inability to treat some forms of cancer effectively. This has made the effort to find ways to increase the effective therapeutic window of chemotherapeutic agents extremely urgent.
One man, Clay Siegall, has discovered a means of delivering highly lethal cytotoxins directly to the site of malignant tumors, therefore enabling much larger dosages and attenuated side effects. The types of drugs that he has created are known as antibody drug conjugates. In fact, some of these drugs are actually able to completely eliminate the side effects that have normally been associated with chemotherapeutic agents, therefore, allowing for massively higher dosages and much more comfortable treatment sessions for the patient.