PARP inhibitors working against inherited cancers

Summary:The big excitement is that PARP inhibitors can be designed against other forms of inherited cancer. They are already being tested against a form of breast cancer. And there are few side effects -- you take a pill twice a day and may get some indigestion.

If a genetic condition leads to cancer there is new hope in a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors.

Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase (PARP) is a protein cells use to repair genetic injuries naturally. But cancer cells also use this protein to repair their own DNA damage. Inhibiting this action allows chemotherapy and radiation to do its job against cancers resulting from genetic mutation.

In a study causing much excitement in the cancer-fighting world (CBS called this the "holy grail" of cancer research, thus the French Taunter above) scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, England gave 19 patients with advanced cancers caused by mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes a PARP inhibitor and over half saw their tumors shrink or stop growing.

The drug had no effect on 41 patients whose tumors were not the result of the genetic defect.

The big excitement is that PARP inhibitors can be designed against other forms of inherited cancer. They are already being tested against a form of breast cancer. And there are few side effects -- you take a pill twice a day and may get some indigestion.

The new drug has the name olaparib. The full article is now in front of the New England Journal of Medicine firewall.

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, which worked with the Netherlands Cancer Institute and drug maker KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, now owned by AstraZeneca, is a charitable group affiliated with that nation's National Health Service. They would welcome your contribution.

Topics: Health

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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