UTSW Researchers Find Broader Use for Cancer Drugs

UT Southwestern researchers may have found a wider application for cancer drugs that are normally reserved for a small slice of patients. Treatment normally used for less than 10 percent of breast cancer patients may be effective in treating all cancers.

The study found a biomarker that indicates when the drugs can be used to fight the broad array of cancers.

“These findings could increase the patient population benefiting from these drugs by two, three, or four-fold. Up to 70 percent of breast cancer patients could now be good candidates,” said Dr. W. Lee Kraus, Director of the Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences at UT Southwestern. via release.

The drugs have been available since 2014, and are and normally used for ovarian cancer with genetic mutations. The medicine makes it tough for cancer cells to survive by disabling a DNA repair pathway in the cell. But research shows that the medicine, called PARP inhibitors, is fighting cancer cells in other ways. The new discovery could mean PARP inhibitors make it to cancer patients more quickly.

UT Southwestern oncologists are working on a clinical trial to test the Kraus team’s findings. They were published in the journal Molecular Cell on July 24.

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