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17.02.17 AstraZeneca's PARP inhibitor Lynparza shows promise for treating breast cancer

last modified Feb 22, 2017 10:19 AM
First positive randomised trial to evaluate the efficacy of a PARP inhibitor beyond ovarian cancer
17.02.17 AstraZeneca's PARP inhibitor Lynparza shows promise for treating breast cancer

AstraZeneca's blockbuster drug

AstraZeneca have announced positive results from its Phase III OLYMPIAD trial comparing Lynparza (olaparib) tablets (300mg twice daily) to standard chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with certain types of breast cancer harbouring mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Patients treated with Lynparza showed a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in survival compared with those who received the alternative chemotherapy.

Olaparib is an inhibitor of the DNA-repair enzyme PARP, and was developed by pharmaceutical startup KuDOS, founded by Steve Jackson of the Gurdon Institute. AstraZeneca bought KuDOS in 2006 and are enjoying huge sales of the drug, which is currently licensed across Europe and the USA for use in ovarian cancers with BRCA 1/2 mutations. It was always likely that the same anti-cancer mechanism would lead to potential use of the compound in cancers in other tissues wherever this genetic signature of the tumour cells makes them susceptible to PARP inhibitors.

The OLYMPIAD trial is the first positive randomised trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a PARP inhibitor beyond ovarian cancer; Jackson believes that AstraZeneca is already investigating the use of Lynparza in various other cancer types.


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Press release from AstraZeneca.

See related news article in Business Weekly.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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