Tag Archives: City of Hope

New Class of Breast Cancer Drugs: PARP Inhibitors

New Class of Breast Cancer Drugs PARP Inhibitors
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and jscreationzs

I’ve been reading a lot lately about a new class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, particularly from the City of Hope, one of the cancer centers I like to follow because they are doing such interesting research on treatments for cancer, both pharmaceutical and natural.

PARP Inhibitors – What They Are

Here is the whole skinny (well, at least what I was able to find and make sense of) on PARP Inhibitors.

PARP stands for “poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase”.  PARP is an enzyme that researchers say is over-expressed in a variety of cancers, and its expression has been associated with overall prognosis in cancer, especially breast cancer.

PARP is important for repairing single-strand breaks in DNA, termed “nicks”.  If the nicks in the DNA are not repaired, then when the cells divide and replicate themselves the new cells can cause double-strand breaks to form.

Drugs which inhibit PARP1 cause multiple double-strand breaks to form.  The reason that this is a good thing is because in tumors with BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2 mutations, the double-strand breaks cannot be efficiently repaired and that leads to the death of those cells.  Research is showing that cancer cells that are low in oxygen (which is the case in fast growing tumors) are sensitive to PARP inhibitors.

I wondered what that meant for normal cells – how they would be affected.  The research shows, however, that normal cells (which don’t duplicate their DNA as often as cancer cells) still have repair mechanisms operating and that allows them to survive the PARP inhibition.

PARP Inhibitors and Chemotherapy

Research is showing that by adding a PARP inhibitor to chemotherapy, the chances that the cancer cells will become resistant to the chemotherapy decrease. When cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy, the chemotherapy is no longer able to fight the cancer cells.  By lowering the chances of resistance, a PARP inhibitor may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

City of Hope Research

In September 2012, The City of Hope released an article titled Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment Gets a Boost.  The article explains a little about PARP inhibitors and states “Scientists think the drugs may work especially well in cancers with BRCA mutations or triple negative breast cancers”.  Triple negative breast cancer accounts for only 14-20% of breast cancers and is not driven by hormones like the bulk of breast tumors are.

Dr George Somlo, a researcher at the City of Hope in Duarte, CA, felt that this new class of drugs showed a lot of promise “because the drugs seem to be a little easier on healthy tissue, which helps reduce side effects, and they may make chemotherapy more effective“.

Good news!

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PARP_inhibitor

http://www.cityofhope.org/about/publications/eHope/2012-vol-11-num-8-september-19/Pages/triple-negative-breast-cancer-treatment-gets-a-boost.aspx

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/25

http://ww5.komen.org/Content.aspx?id=19327354168

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Interesting City of Hope Research on Blueberries and Triple Negative Breast Cancer

blueberries
Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / Ambro

Searching around for hopeful things for breast cancer patients is one of my favorite things to do (call me crazy but I like to help) and today I found some interesting research from City of Hope, a cancer center in Duarte, California.

The research demonstrated that blueberries have the ability to control tumor growth, decrease metastasis and induce cell death in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)

A Quick Explanation of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is a particular subtype of breast cancer that lacks estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) receptors and because most breast cancer tumors do have at least one of these receptors, doctors are able to target them with specific therapies.

I have spoken to quite a few patients whose tumors were triple negative and many were more than a little anxious over their diagnosis particularly because there seems to be a lot of really negative information on the Internet about triple negative breast cancer – that it accounts for only about 15% of breast cancer and that it has a poorer prognosis compared to other subtypes with the receptors present. Thus, whenever I do find some positive research about TNBC, I like to share it.

Blueberries Are a Triple Threat

Dr Shiuan Chen, director of City of Hope’s Division of Tumor Cell Biology said “blueberries help fight triple-negative breast cancers by suppressing pathways critical to tumor development and migration.” 

The research has not been carried out on real, live people yet (they are still waiting for the results of that study) but they have used it on TNBC cell cultures and also on laboratory animals with great results.  The researchers discovered that the group that received the blueberries had a tumor weight that was 70% lighter, exhibited significantly lower proliferation rates, and higher apoptosis activity (apoptosis means programmed cell death) than the group not receiving the blueberries.  So they considered that to be a triple threat against TNBC.  I found a YouTube video where they discuss their findings – click here to view it.

Researchers estimated that in humans, a person weighing 130 lbs would need 4 oz daily to achieve the good effects that the studies exhibited.

Got TNBC?  Get those blueberries in ya!

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.