Answer – What is Olaparib?

Dear Parp Inhibitors Cancer,
What is Olaparib?

Olaparib is an inhibitor of the enzyme Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP). It was one of the first PARP inhibitors developed by KuDOS Pharmaceuticals that was later bought out by AstraZeneca. More specifically olaparib is an experimental drug that has been shown in studies to shrink or stabilize tumors in almost 50% of ovarian cancer patients possessing BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Studies so far haven’t shown major side effects in people, but those who did have them reported some fatigue, somnolence, nausea, loss of appetite and thrombocytopenia.

In the most simplistic form of explanation, an olaparib operates by turning a tumor’s specific genetic defect against itself. In vulnerable cells, olaparib blocks the repair of naturally occurring breaks in the DNA, which healthy cells are normally able to repair. Thus the vulnerable cancer cells (considered those with an existing defect in a DNA repair pathway caused by a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes) are unable to repair themselves. Those cells then die.

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