Dr. Birrer on PARP Inhibitors in Ovarian Cancer

March 29, 2018
Michael Birrer, MD, PhD

Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center in Alabama, discusses the role of PARP inhibitors in the treatment of patients with ovarian cancer.

Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center in Alabama, discusses the role of PARP inhibitors in the treatment of patients with ovarian cancer.

This is a new class of drugs that is considered a type of targeted therapy, explains Birrer. It inhibits the PARP protein, which is very specific. The PARP protein is important because it is involved in single-strand DNA repair breaks. If you inhibit the ability for a cell to repair its single-strand break then it can become a double-strand break, which can be lethal unless repaired by BRCA1/2.

Birrer say that a PARP inhibitor should not affect the other cells in the body, making it a selective therapeutic approach. They are oral inhibitors, which makes it easier for the patient to take. Additionally, there are biomarkers that can identify the patients who will benefit the most. PARP inhibitors have all the aspects of modern oncology, targeted therapy, biomarkers, as well as the added benefit of having a good toxicity profile.

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