It's called a PARP inhibitor. The drug inhibits the work of a protein cells use to repair damage to their DNA.
PARP inhibitors work only on cancers tied to specific genetic mutations. In a study causing much excitement today at the New England Journal of Medicine, a PARP inhibitor called olaparib worked on about 10 people with advanced cancers caused by two specific genetic mutations.
The hope is that a new class of drugs may be developed targeting other cancers caused by genetic mutations.
Depending on the blood type of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, this could at minimum benefit his children. Folks with blood type B have a much higher risk for pancreatic cancer than other people. Once that genetic mutation is found a PARP inhibitor could in theory be developed that might cure such cancers, even in advanced stages.
Jobs' original cancer was called an islet-cell tumor, but it apparently metastasized into his liver, resulting in his recent need for a liver transplant.
Doctors would not normally approve such an operation unless they were very confident the cancer had not spread beyond the liver, so his current prognosis is considered very good.
That was also said in 2004 when after Jobs' first cancer operation. I recently lost my father-in-law to cancer that was in its fourth recurrence post-remission so I understand "good prognosis" and "remission" are relative terms.
But now the prognosis for Jobs' kids will be even better. And the same goes for your kids.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com