According to a story from Fierce Biotech, recent research is highlighting the possibility that PARP inhibitors, a type of targeted therapy that it mostly used to treat breast cancer and ovarian cancer that has been linked to BRCA mutations, could be effective treatments for other types of cancer as well. Many of such cancers are rare and have a hereditary basis in some cases, with few effective treatment options.
Yale’s PARP Inhibitor Research
Researchers from Yale University have found that PARP inhibitors could be useful for two types of rare, heritable cancers: succinate dehydrogenase-related hereditary paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma and hereditary leiomyomatosis/renal cell cancer. PARP inhibitors work by targeting cells that have lost some of their DNA repair capability by shutting down DNA repair entirely, resulting in the death of the cell. These cancers are not linked to BRCA mutations, but they express they same limited DNA repair ability. A test of the drug on mice with these cancers revealed that PARP inhibitors could slow tumor growth. Yale is now beginning to organize clinical trials on order to test the drug on human patients with these cancers.
Treatment for Prostate Cancer
PARP inhibitors are also being tested in prostate cancer, as this cancer also has been linked to BRCA mutations in some cases. In addition, research from the University of Toronto suggests that mutations in the ATM gene prostate cancer vulnerable to PARP inhibitors.
Treatment for Glioblastoma
A team of scientists in the UK have also found that the PARP inhibitor Lynparza could be a valuable treatment for the rare and aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma when combined with a chemotherapy agent called temozolomide. Glioblastoma is notorious for its lethality and its refusal to respond to most treatments. A study of 35 patients found that the combination was effective in attacking tumors and could also reach scattered glioblastoma cells that surgeons would not be able to remove themselves.
Overall, this wealth of evidence suggests that PARP inhibitors could play a major role in treating a variety of rare and dangerous cancers. Hopefully, continued research will be able to reveal even more types of cancer where this unique class of cancer drugs can be applied.