Olaparib has the potential to make “a huge impact”, giving a better chance of survival to newly diagnosed Ovarian cancer patients. A new report suggests that Up to 600 women with a hereditary type of the disease could benefit each year. The drug was approved post its trial. The trial showed it could delay progression of the disease for three years. Olaparib is for women with advanced ovarian, fallopian-tube or peritoneal cancer who have a specific gene mutation – Brca – inherited from parents, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Approximately, five to 15 out of every 100 women with ovarian cancer have this faulty gene there are concerns that less than a third of women with the disease in the UK are being tested for it. Olaparib has been available in the UK only to women who have already had at least three separate rounds of chemotherapy.
Patients like Florence Wilks., who were diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer at a later stage, after experiencing symptoms such as extreme tiredness and backache for a couple of years, have largely benefited from this drug, getting an extension on their life span.
Olaparib, made by AstraZeneca, which is a pioneer type of cancer drug called a PARP inhibitor, works by targeting an inherited genetic fault, causing cancer cells to die.
Charity Ovarian Cancer Action said the news was “a huge advancement in how we treat the disease” – but too many women were missing out on genetic testing in order to access the drug, despite government guidelines.
Olaparib is available immediately in England for this purpose.