PARP Inhibitors are Giving Local Ovarian Cancer Patients Hope

By Cancer Foundation on February 4 / 2020

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Illustration of a damaged ribonucleic acid or  dna strand

For many years, gynecologic cancers like ovarian cancer have presented many challenges to the researchers, clinicians, and oncologists attempting to treat them.

However, a new class of targeted therapy called PARP Inhibitors is now giving hope to many women facing ovarian cancer, and even some other types of cancer as well. PARP inhibitors work by stopping a cell protein called PARP1 from doing its regular job of repairing DNA damage. Since cancer cells repair themselves more often than non-cancerous cells, inhibiting the PARP1 protein can interfere and cause cancerous cells to instead die off.

Around the world, PARP inhibitors are helping to improve progression-free survival for many women with recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. In some cases patients are able to use these treatments for years without seeing their cancer progress, and it is one of the first targeted therapies to be helpful for certain women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Today, thanks to support from donors in our community, many local patients are receiving this type of targeted therapy right here in Ottawa through clinical trials. The Ottawa Hospital has already been able to enroll over 40 patients in clinical trials testing the efficacy of Niraparib, Olaparib, and Rucaparib, PARP Inhibitors that have all shown hope in treating ovarian cancer. Some patients experiencing a positive response are even able to continue using the drugs for years after the studies end!

If you’d like to know more about PARP inhibitors and whether or not they may be a good treatment option for you, please speak directly to your oncologist.

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