When a relative or loved one is a diagnosed with cancer, it’s devastating news. But there could be new hope for people who have been diagnosed with an incurable version of the disease, in the form of a new drug called Olaparib.
The drug, which is still in clinical trials has been called “outstanding”, has been said to give women who are suffering from the BRCA-mutated version of breast cancer extended time before it progresses.
Olaparib has been developed by UK scientists, and is still only in the early stages. But so far, clinical trials have proven very promising.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology have said that with the drug, the disease now had progression time of seven months, compared to a shorter 4.2 months without it, when a patient is undergoing chemotherapy. The average age of women in the clinical trials was 44.
The drug would essentially slow down cancer growth in terminal patients – giving people more valuable time with family and loved ones. Olaparib is actually already available for women who have BRCA-mutant advanced ovarian cancer.
Andrew Tutt, director of Breast Cancer Now Research Centre, said “[It] is the first drug to be approved that is directed against an inherited genetic mutation.”
He continued, “It is a perfect example of how understanding a patient’s genetics and the biology of their tumor can be used to target its weaknesses and personalize treatment.”
But Dr Daniel Hayes, of the American Society of Clinical Oncology has admitted that while it is promising, the full effects of the drug are still unknown. He said, “We are in our infancy. This is clearly an advance; this is clearly proof of concept these can work with breast cancer.”
However, he continued, “Does it look like it’s going to extend life? We don’t know yet.”
But the drug is receiving praise from cancer charities too. Charity Breast Cancer Now have admitted that “This outstanding news represents a significant step forward.”
And happily there’s even more positive news for people suffering with cancer. A recent study has found that there could be a simple way of cutting the risk of death from the disease – by simply partaking in a brisk walk every day.
The study, unveiled at the biggest cancer conference in the world in Chicago, suggested that 25 minutes of brisk walking each day could be enough to reduce the risk of dying from the disease – even in the later stages of it.
The research from the Australian University of Tech studied 337 women, and showed that the gentle exercise could create “clear potential to influence survival”.
We’re keeping our fingers tightly crossed.