Discovery of mechanism behind precision cancer drug opens door for more targeted treatment


New research that uncovers the mechanism behind the newest generation of cancer drugs is opening the door for better targeted therapy.

PARP inhibitors are molecular targeted cancer drugs used to treat women with ovarian cancer who have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

The drugs are showing promise in late-stage clinical trials for breast cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer and are part of an approach known as precision medicine, which targets treatments based on genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.

"What we've done is identify how the drugs work," said University of Alberta oncologist and cell biologist Michael Hendzel. "Knowing how they work will enable us to come up with new applications for them, so we can make this drug as useful as possible for as many patients as possible."

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