The drug that will make chemotherapy obsolete

New anti-cancer targeted agent is expected to become an effective tool in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer patients.

July 22, 2010 12:05
1 minute read.
Iluz (left) and Abuhatzeira, with Prof. Dan Aravot

Artificial heart patients 311. (photo credit: Eli Dadon )

A new medicine in development is expected to make one of the most dreaded treatments in the fight against cancer - irrelevant. A new study conducted in both Europe and the US reports that a newly developed agent, Olaparib, will help attack breast and ovarian tumors effectively without subjecting patients to chemotherapy.

The researchers explain that Olaparib inhibits a certain protein that is involved in the reproduction of cancerous cells. The inhibition of this protein, in a tumor cell that already lacks a functional BRCA gene, will induce cell death.
The study was undertaken in 16 centers in Australia, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US, and included women aged 18 years or more who suffered from recurrent, advanced breast cancer and had been given a few previous chemotherapy regimens.

The patients were assigned to one of two groups – 27 women were given 400 mg oral Olaparib twice daily and the other 27 women were given 100 mg oral Olaparib twice daily. The higher dose showed a better anti-tumorous activity, with an objective response rate of 41%, compared with an objective response rate of 22% in the lower dose group. Adverse events were mainly at low grades, mostly in the higher dose group, and included fatigue, nausea, vomiting and anemia.

More clinical trials are necessary before Olaparib and other PARP inhibitors may be used in practice, but these recent studies give new hope for the future.

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