Olaparib: A Trailblazing Treatment
Some cancer cells have faulty DNA, and rely on a protein called PARP to help fix themselves. Olaparib is a drug which stops PARP from working. The cancer cells then can’t repair their faulty DNA and die. Normal, healthy cells don’t have the same defect that cancer cells do and so olaparib can target cancer cells more selectively than other cancer treatments can.
However, not every cancer has the kind of faulty DNA which makes it susceptible to being killed by olaparib.
Olaparib was originally discovered in the 1990s, in work supported by Worldwide Cancer Research, and is used by the NHS to treat ovarian cancer. It is sold under the name Lynparza.
Many researchers are investigating whether olaparib’s success so far can be replicated in other cancers.