Cancer drug development: Targeted tumour take-out

    Credit: MASSACHUSETTS MED. SOC.

    N. Engl. J. Med. 361, 123–134 (2009)

    Tumour cells with a mutation that affects their ability to repair severed DNA can be killed with a drug that knocks out a second repair mechanism. That's the finding from a phase I clinical trial that enrolled patients with cancer-associated mutations in the BRCA DNA-repair genes.

    Johann de Bono of the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, UK, and his co-workers gave patients olaparib, which inhibits an enzyme involved in a second DNA-repair pathway. Out of 19 patients with a BRCA mutation, 12 showed signs of tumour shrinkage or stabilization. (Pictured above: left, a computed tomography scan of the abdomen of one patient with ovarian cancer (circled); and right, showing complete tumour regression after four months of treatment.)

    The study shows promise for using cancer molecular biology to devise personalized therapies that exploits a tumour's genetic or molecular defects.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Cancer drug development: Targeted tumour take-out. Nature 462, 961 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/462961e

    Download citation

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.