JAN 02, 2020 9:53 AM PST

FDA Approves Ovarian Cancer Drug to Treat Pancreatic Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

In 2019, an estimated 46,000 Americans died from pancreatic cancer. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lynparza, an ovarian cancer drug developed by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, to treat patients with advanced stages of the disease. 

Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s oncology business unit said, “Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer historically have faced poor outcomes due to the aggressive nature of the disease and limited treatment advances over the last few decades.”

Research has suggested that certain variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase one’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer. With normal versions of these genes producing proteins that regulate cells’ ability to both identify and repair damaged DNA, certain variants are unable to do this. These thus lead to the production of malfunctioning proteins, which in turn allow healthy cells to transform into cancer cells, and form tumors.

To combat this process, researchers developed Lynparza, a Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. A protein that repairs a different type of DNA damage than BRCA variants, it disables cells with faulty BRCA from repairing themselves, meaning that, rather than developing into cancer cells, they simply die. 

Clinical trials investigating the drug’s efficacy were positive. Victoria Manax MD., the Chief Medical Officer of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) said, “The clinical trial results showed a certain subset of metastatic pancreatic cancer patients had a good response to a PARP inhibitor called Lynparza (olaparib) if their tumor had already responded to platinum-containing chemotherapy.” 

She continued, “In the 151 patients treated through this trial, 22.1 percent of patients who received Lynparza had no disease progression two years after starting the treatment, as compared to 9.6 percent of patients who did not receive Lynparza.”

An effective treatment option for those with germline BRCA mutations, the drug should be able to treat between 4 and 7% of pancreatic cancer patients. Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of PanCAN said, “Lynparza is a great example of this big step forward in improving patient outcomes and further confirms the need for all patients to get appropriate testing to determine the best treatment option for them.”



Sources: Pancan 2017, Pancan June 2019Pancan December 2019 and 10tv

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
SEP 30, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Exosome delivery of an anti-HIV drug to the brain
SEP 30, 2021
Exosome delivery of an anti-HIV drug to the brain
The body has a remarkable ability to prevent foreign objects, such as toxins or other pathogens, from entering the brain ...
OCT 03, 2021
Coronavirus
Merck's COVID-19 Drug Halves Risk of Death in Mild & Moderate Cases
OCT 03, 2021
Merck's COVID-19 Drug Halves Risk of Death in Mild & Moderate Cases
While Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIAID is already stressing that people should still get vaccinated to help reduce COVID-19 in ...
OCT 12, 2021
Immunology
Major Landmark in a 100-Year Search for a Malaria Vaccine
OCT 12, 2021
Major Landmark in a 100-Year Search for a Malaria Vaccine
In one of the greatest global health milestones of our time, the World Health Organization has approved the widespread d ...
OCT 28, 2021
Immunology
Unlocking a New Target to Treat Gut Inflammation
OCT 28, 2021
Unlocking a New Target to Treat Gut Inflammation
  Immunologists have uncovered a molecular switch in T cells that serves as a prime target for therapeuti ...
OCT 29, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
A novel analogue of psilocin to treat mental health disorders
OCT 29, 2021
A novel analogue of psilocin to treat mental health disorders
Psilocybin and its metabolite psilocin are naturally occurring compounds that are commonly found in some genus of mushro ...
NOV 01, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Genetic Connnections to Osteoerthritis
NOV 01, 2021
Genetic Connnections to Osteoerthritis
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition in which joints become inflamed, leading them to feel stiff or sore, especially in ...
Loading Comments...