New discovery could open up PARP inhibitors to more cancer patients
PARP inhibitors have transformed treatment for breast and ovarian cancers, but their use has been limited to the small proportion of patients who have BRCA mutations. New research out of UT Southwestern Medical Center has uncovered a mechanism by which the drugs attack cancer, suggesting they could be put to use in many more patients.
The FDA has approved four PARP inhibitors, starting with AstraZeneca’s Lynparza in 2014 for heavily treated ovarian cancer. These drugs block PARP enzymes, shutting down DNA repair and killing cancer cells. They work in tandem with BRCA mutations, which also hamper DNA repair in cancer cells, delivering a one-two punch that cancer cells cannot survive.
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