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Ovarian cancer researchers testing new drug

Category: Ovarian

Coincident with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, the National Cancer Institute is beginning to test a new drug it hopes will more effectively treat types of breast and ovarian cancer.

Dr. Elise Kohn of the Center for Cancer Research will head a clinical trial which tests the effectiveness of the drug AZD2281 in thwarting the repair of mutated genes. The trial is in phase I, which means that safety of the treatment will be the main factor examined.

Prior research has shown that women who have mutations to their BRCA, or tumor suppressor genes, are at a much higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. In the new trial, researchers will administer the new drug and hope that it stunts the capacity of damaged cancer cells to repair themselves.

Kohn summarized the trial stating, "The idea is to stress the cancer cells with [chemotherapy], which is known to be effective in ovarian cancer and possibly some breast cancers, while blocking DNA repair pathways."

Tests on animals have demonstrated that the AZD2281 drug is significantly more toxic to cells with BRCA gene mutations than to cells with normal tumor suppressor genes.

The NCI reports that ovarian cancer testing can help find cancer at an early stage and increase the likelihood that it can be successfully treated.

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