New trial in America combines two methods to defeat ovarian cancer

A new trial in America aims to increase ovarian cancer survival rates by treating it with a drug that kills ovarian cancer cells, combined with one that boosts the immune system.

The trial will treat BRCA positive patients with recurrent ovarian cancer with the PARP inhibitor Olaparib, combined with the antibody drug Tremelimumab.  This antibody helps immune cells, called T-cells, to find and destroy ovarian cancer cells that are not killed by the PARP inhibitor.  It may also allow the immune system to remember how to destroy ovarian cancer cells should the cancer return.

In pre-clinical trials this combination therapy destroyed tumours in mice, and helped them live longer.  The next stage is to see if this type of treatment can have a similar effect in women with BRCA gene mutations who have recurrent ovarian cancer.

The study is being carried out by Sarah Adams MD at the the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

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