Jan 012012

(January 1, 2012) In a surprise announcement, AstraZeneca put out a press release in late December announcing the cancellation Phase 3 development for olaparib. The official reason given for abandoning development was as follows:

“The decision to discontinue olaparib’s development in serous ovarian cancer was made following a review of an interim analysis of a Phase II study (study 19) which indicated that the previously reported progression free survival benefit is unlikely to translate into an overall survival benefit, the definitive measure of patient benefit in ovarian cancer. In addition, attempts to identify a suitable tablet dose for use in Phase III studies have not been successful. No new safety concerns were identified for patients.”

Olaparib was an oral PARP inhibitor that was being praised for its ability to help inhibit the repair of cancer cells in advanced ovarian cancer patients.

The announcement came despite a recently published study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Website which found that olaparib, a PARP Inhibitor, has an effect during the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.

The official conclusion of the study was:

“The efficacy of olaparib was consistent with previous studies. However, the efficacy of PLD was greater than expected. Olaparib 400 mg twice per day is a suitable dose to explore in further studies in this patient population.”

In response to the news of the discontinued development of Olaparib, Barclays of London told investors, “AstraZeneca seems to have had more than its fair share of misfortune when it comes to the development pipeline.”

It’s not only a setback to AstraZeneca, but also to the promise it had brought to those suffering from ovarian cancer.

Aug 212010

(PARP Inhibitors Video) At 2010 ONS conference in San Diego (ONS stands for “Oncology Nursing Society”), one of the hot subjects when it comes to the treatment of ovarian cancer was PARP Inhibitors. In this video, Paula J. Anastasia, RN, MN, talks about ovarian cancer recurrence and at 2:55 into the video she begins to talk about PARP inhibitors, giving an explanation of what it is and how it is given to patients in clinical trials…

Aug 152010

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.

Aug 132010

In a recent feature story on the use of Parp Inhibitors for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer in women, Dr. Charles L. Vogel does a good job of explaining, in layman terms, what a Parp Inhibitor is and how parp inhibitors treat cancer. From the video:

What happens is when different chemotherapy drugs act on the DNA of a tumor cell, they cause damage. But the tumor cells are smart and they can repair that damage. Yet the PARP inhibitor is able to inhibit the ability of the tumor to repair that damage… if you can inhibit DNA repair then the tumor will be destroyed.

Here’s the full video…