Ask an Expert: How Do PARP Inhibitors Work?

PARP inhibitors are generating a lot of excitement in the field of ovarian cancer. But how, exactly, do they work? CURE spoke with one expert to find out.

Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains how PARP inhibitors work, and why they are an exciting asset to the treatment of patients with ovarian cancer.

PARP inhibitors are a type of targeted therapy that inhibit the PARP protein in cancer cells. PARP is responsible for repairing damaged DNA, and without repair, the tumor cells will die.

Since these agents are so specific in the way that they work, they typically do not affect other cells in the body. Not to mention, there are biomarkers that can predict who will benefit from PARP inhibitors most, and since they are given orally, they are convenient for the patient who does not need to frequently go into clinic for infusions.