The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug that has shown promising results against one of the most common cancers in women, the Ovarian Cancer.
The drug known as olaparib, which is to be marketed as Lynparza was part of a clinical trial whereby it successfully shrank and even eliminated various ovarian tumors that had previously been subjected and exposed to chemotherapy. All these tumors had a specific genetic fingerprint that the drug seemed to act against; therefore olaparib has been officially approved for treating ovarian tumors associated with a malfunctioning BRCA gene.
Over a period of eight months, approximately one third of the women with the specific genetic mutation that participated in the trial saw complete or partial shrinkage of the tumors. Along with the drug, the FDA has also approved the launch of a ‘companion diagnostic’ called BRACAnalysis CDx, to help women in identifying the type of ovarian tumor that is most likely to respond to Lynparza. In order to qualify as a candidate for the new drug, patients must take the test and if it shows positive results for BRCA gene mutation, it is likely that the drug will act against the cancer to shrink or eliminate it.
Lynparza belongs to a new class of drugs known as the poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors. These drugs act by causing blockage of the action of enzymes that assist in DNA repair; the tumor cells seen in cases of BRCA1 and BRCA2 undergo necrosis when these enzymes are blocked.
Researchers are currently working on the development of more PARB inhibitor drugs to help women combat ovarian cancer so as to control the prevalence of the disease.