Combining Drugs Could Decrease Recurrences for Ovarian Cancer Patients

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Most people diagnosed with ovarian cancer suffer from recurrences after treatment. And every one of them means less and less treatment options. It’s a disheartening, never-ending cycle.

What has stumped researchers is that standard carboplatin treatment DOES make a difference for patients. It effectively eliminates the cancer, at least for the short term. What makes it come back?

They may finally have an answer—not only to why it happens, but for how to fix it.

Researchers found that high levels of a protein called cIAPs within ovarian cancer tumors may cause drugs to only be sufficient as a short-term option. So, not only did they have to find a way to combat the cancer, they had to also combat the protein.

Their idea is to keep using carboplatin—because, to some extent, it has proved effective—and combine it with birinapant, a new experimental drug.

So far, it’s been tested in mouse models and patient ovarian cancer samples. Both studies found that the combined use of the drugs had a much greater effect than either drug had on its own. Researchers hope to begin a phase 1/2 clinical trial for the treatment soon.

This discovery is groundbreaking because it could potentially be used as a treatment option for numerous other cancers including colon, cervical, bladder, and lung cancer. Researchers have now tested the treatment in all those listed and found a positive response for 50% of tumors in each.

As scientists move forward, fingers are crossed for a positive clinical trial for ovarian cancer. You can read more about the study here. Make sure to keep an eye out for signups on clinicaltrial.gov!


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