Scientists Exploit Leaks in Blood Brain Barrier to Treat Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“An ovarian cancer drug can leak through the blood brain barrier to reach brain tumours and could be an effective treatment for glioblastoma, suggest results* presented at the National Cancer Research Institute’s (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool, today (Monday).

“The Cancer Research UK-funded OPARATIC trial,* which was managed by the charity’s Centre for Drug Development, tested whether the ovarian cancer drug olaparib could reach glioblastoma, a type of brain tumour which is very difficult to treat. And early results show it successfully reaches brain tumours at high enough levels for treatment.”

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ASCO 2017: Breast Cancer Treatment News


Last month, the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting took place in Chicago. Thousands of oncologists, patients, and journalists gathered to learn about the most recent developments in cancer research and treatment. Here are some breast cancer highlights from the meeting:

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered more responsive to treatment with immune checkpoint drugs than any other type of breast cancer. So far, these drugs have primarily been explored in metastatic TNBC, in combination with chemotherapy. The combination of “anti-PD-L1” and “anti-PD-1” immune checkpoint drugs with chemotherapy has now been examined in early-stage TNBC, in which a breast tumor can be surgically removed after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Continue reading…


Lynparza Meets Primary Endpoint in Phase III Trial in BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“AstraZeneca today announced positive results from its Phase III OLYMPIAD trial comparing Lynparza (olaparib) tablets (300mg twice daily) to physician’s choice of a standard of care chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer harbouring germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Patients treated with Lynparza showed a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) compared with those who received chemotherapy (capecitabine, vinorelbine or eribulin).”

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Scientists Identify Key Defect in Brain Tumor Cells

Excerpt:

“In a new study, Yale researchers identified a novel genetic defect that prevents brain tumor cells from repairing damaged DNA. They found that the defect is highly sensitive to an existing FDA-approved drug used to treat ovarian cancer—a discovery that challenges current practice for treatment of brain tumors and other cancers with the same genetic defect, said the scientists.

“The study was published on Feb. 1 by Science Translational Medicine.

“Certain and leukemias have mutations in genes known as IDH1 and IDH2. The mutations render the cancers sensitive to treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, significantly increasing the survival time for patients with the mutations. To better understand this sensitivity, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Yale created models of the mutation in cell cultures.”

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FDA Grants Olaparib Breakthrough Designation in mCRPC

“Olaparib (Lynparza) has received an FDA breakthrough therapy designation as a treatment for patients with BRCA1/2 or ATM-mutated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) in those who have received a prior taxane-based chemotherapy and at least either hormonal agent enzalutamide (Xtandi) or abiraterone acetate (Zytiga).

“The designation, which will accelerate the development and review of the first-in-class oral PARP inhibitor, is based on data from the phase II TOPARP-A trial that demonstrated that olaparib monotherapy had an overall response rate (ORR) of nearly 90% in a biomarker-defined subgroup of patients who had DNA-repair defects.


Finally: An Active Prostate Cancer Drug That Doesn’t Target Androgen


Most of the recent developments in prostate cancer treatment have addressed the timing and duration of androgen deprivation, who should receive radiation treatments, and the timing of the few available chemotherapy options. But this month’s big news is a welcome change: metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancers (mCRPCs) that harbor mutations in BRCA2 or one of a few other genes have a remarkable response to olaparib (Lynparza), a drug that inhibits the enzyme PARP1. Continue reading…


Landmark Clinical Trial Shows Gene-Targeted Drug Can Treat Prostate Cancer

“A pioneering drug developed to treat women with inherited cancers can also benefit men with advanced prostate cancer, a major new clinical trial concludes.

“The trial is a milestone in cancer treatment as the first to show the benefits of ‘precision medicine’ in prostate cancer – with treatment matched to the particular genetic characteristics of a man’s tumour.

“Olaparib, the world’s first drug to reach the market targeted against inherited cancer mutations, was found to benefit as many as a third of patients with prostate cancer, including many who did not inherit cancer genes but whose tumours had acquired defects in DNA repair.”


Novel Olaparib Combination Shows Activity in Ovarian, Breast Cancers

“A combination treatment composed of the PARP inhibitor olaparib and the investigational PI3K inhibitor BKM120 demonstrated activity and safety for women with triple-negative breast cancer or high-grade serous ovarian cancer, according to study findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.

“High-grade serous ovarian cancer and triple-negative breast cancer are similar in that they often have germline BRCA mutations, have a sensitivity to platinum agents and have high copy number alterations based on The Cancer Genome Atlas, according to study background. Further, preclinical data have suggested olaparib (Lynparza, AstraZeneca) is synergistic with BKM120 (Novartis) and BYL719 (Novartis) in both cancers.

“Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, medical director of gynecologic oncology at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine at Harvard University Medical School, and colleagues evaluated olaparib plus BKM120 in 12 patients with triple-negative breast cancer and 34 patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Thirty-five patients had germline BRCA mutations.

“ ‘This is one area where we in ovarian cancer are in the forefront,’ Matulonis said during a press conference. ‘We are using an FDA-approved biomarker through germline BRCA status to basically say when a patient is eligible to receive olaparib.’ “


AACR 2015: New PARP Inhibitor Combination Shows Early Promise for a Wide Range of Cancer Patients

“A combination of two molecularly targeted drugs, olaparib (Lynparza) and the investigational agent AZD5363, was safe and yielded responses in patients with a variety of cancer types, including breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers, regardless of BRCA1/2-mutation status, according to data from the ComPAKT phase I clinical trial presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, held April 18 to 22 in Philadelphia (Abstract CT323).

“ ‘In this clinical trial, we evaluated for the first time whether it is possible to safely combine the investigational AKT inhibitor AZD5363 with olaparib, a PARP [poly ADP-ribose polymerase] inhibitor recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating advanced ovarian cancer associated with defective BRCA genes,’ said Timothy Yap, MD, PhD, National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Clinician-Scientist and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

“ ‘Here, we are reporting results from the dose-escalation portion of the trial, which showed that it was indeed possible to combine these drugs safely,’ continued Dr. Yap. ‘We also observed that several different cancer types responded to the combination, including cancers without BRCA1/2 mutations. These early results are very exciting because preclinical data had suggested that the olaparib and AZD5363 combination had the potential to be effective in a much wider population of patients than just those harboring germline BRCA1/2 mutations.’ “