Health Discoveries in General Health News

PARP inhibitors are a breakthrough in breast cancer fight

October 30, 2009
Findings earlier this year that a new class of drugs could change the direction of breast cancer treatment is viewed as a major breakthrough on the cancer-fighting front.

"This was the biggest breakthrough in treatment in 2009, that PARP inhibitors could work in patients with triple negative breast cancer, the most serious cases," said Dr. Iuliana Shapira, a breast cancer expert and attending physician at North Shore University Hospital's division of hematology/oncology.

"With standard chemotherapy and the PARP (poly adenosine-disposphate-ribose polymerase) inhibitors, women in the study lived longer without the disease progressing," said Shapira, who also serves as director of the cancer genetic program at Monter Cancer Center.

When the initial results were released last spring, a New England Journal of Medicine editorial called the use of PARP inhibitors – which kills cancer cells but spares healthy cells – "a new direction in the development of anti-cancer drugs."

"There are no replicated cells with PARP inhibitors," said Shapira, who added that additional studies are finding similar results for ovarian cancer.

Shapira's work at North Shore University Hospital, part of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, focuses on breast cancer, gynecological and gastrointestinal cancers and sarcoma.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19436866-ADNFCR
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