Patients suffering from inherited breast cancer could now look forward to an effective treatment by the development of the new drug Olaparib if the first test results can be taken into account.
Researchers at the King's College in London, have tested the drug on around 54 women with advanced genetic breast cancer. The new drug is found to shrink the tumours and even progressively stop their growth.
Olaparib, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca, is the first in its class which has been designed to cater to women who suffer from cancer resulting from BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes.
If further tests prove successful, this drug could be useful to treat or prevent the disease in its early stages in afflicted families.
Andrew Tutt, director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at King"s College London, who led the trial, said that the results for olaparib were "very promising".
"We are hopeful that olaparib could provide a targeted treatment for women with BRCA-related breast cancer. Some women also develop breast cancer before they know they are carrying the gene, or see it recur if they have been diagnosed previously," said Dr. Tutt
The drug Olaparib functions by obstructing a protein that makes these cancer cells which has the BRCA fault and are unable to repair their own DNA. This causes the cancer cells to die, cease growth or shrink.
The drug works systematically in a targeted manner that destroys the cancer cells and leaves the healthy cells on. This advantages is not provided by traditional methods like chemotherapy and hence the drug helps in decreasing the penalizing side effects of cancer treatment.
The study was carried out in hospitals across Britain, Europe, the US and Australia, around 27 patients took 400mg doses which 27 others took 100mg oral doses of olaparib.
The scientists noticed 40 per cent reduction in tumour sizes in the higher dose group. Also the tumours in all patients were obstructed from growing progressively for an average period of six months.
Tutt also said that the drug Orlaparib possibly has potential to be a preventative treatment measure of cancer in early stages.
He added: "It is important to remember this drug is at a very early stage of development."