New drug class gives hope to some ovarian cancer patients

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“PARP inhibitors target the Achilles heel of cancers which have certain types of defects in DNA repair,” Dr. Elizabeth Swisher said. Getty Images

(University of Washington School of Medicine) — A study published today in Nature Communications shows that the drug rucaparib has been effective in treating certain types of ovarian cancers if used early in treatment, after a diagnosis, and before the cancer cells build up a resistance to chemotherapy.

Rucaparib is in a relatively new class of drugs – Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase or PARP inhibitors – which have been approved for therapy in ovarian cancers.

This study provides insights into both how the cancers resist treatments, and which patients may respond favorably to the drug, said lead author Dr. Elizabeth Swisher, a UW Medicine gynecologic oncologist and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She also co-directs the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research Program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. (…)

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