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Promising breast cancer treatment

DRUGS targeting an enzyme known as PARP show promise as treatments for some of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat forms of breast cancer, according to new research.

The findings were presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Mid-stage results from a PARP inhibitor developed by BiPar Sciences Inc show that it improved survival by 60 percent compared with chemotherapy alone for women with "triple negative breast cancer."

And a small trial of AstraZeneca Plc's olaparib in women with advanced breast cancer linked to genetic mutations showed that it shrank tumors in a third of patients.

PARP is short for "poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase," which is used by cancer cells to repair DNA damage, including the damage inflicted by chemotherapy drugs.

Dr Barry Sherman, head of development at BiPar, presented the results from a 116-patient trial of its intravenous PARP inhibitor, known as BSI-201, which is being studied in women with "triple negative" metastatic breast cancer, a very aggressive form of the disease that has no other treatment beyond chemotherapy.


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