Women's Health

There’s Hope on the Horizon for Ovarian Cancer

Researchers are learning more and more about PARP inhibitors

In recent years, the use of three PARP inhibitors – Rubraca, Lynparza, and Zejula have also shown promise among the patient population with ovarian cancer. PARP inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy that hinder the PARP protein in cancer cells. This specific protein is responsible for repairing damaged DNA and without repair, the cancer cells will die. Since PARP inhibitors are specific in the way that they function, they generally do not affect the other healthy cells within the body. Moreover, they are biomarkers that can predict which patients will benefit most from their usage and given orally, they provide convenience for patients, dismissing the need to frequently go into a clinic for infusions.

Although PARP inhibitors have been used to treat ovarian cancer for over 10 years now, it was only recently that researchers learned how to use them better. “Genetics and genomics are the future of cancer care. It’s wonderful to see patients who traditionally would have been told that they had no options left go on to live for years thanks to these new agents,” said Richard Boulay, division director of gynecologic oncology at Lehigh Valley Health Network. Looking forward, Boulay is eager to see treatments for ovarian cancer continue to improve and bring about better outcomes for both patients and their families. “We have a long way to go, but we’re proceeding rapidly,” he said.