‘Quantum leap’ in fight against ovarian cancer: Experts hail biggest improvement in treatment for 30 years as drug that can halt the disease for 12 months gets approval

  • Drug niraparib was approved for use by regulators in ‘quantum leap’ 
  • Target Ovarian Cancer, a UK charity, described treatment as a ‘major milestone’ 
  • Targeted treatments are rare in ovarian cancer and just a handful are approved 

Experts have hailed a ‘quantum leap’ for women with ovarian cancer as a breakthrough treatment was given the go-ahead yesterday.

The drug niraparib was approved for use by regulators in the biggest improvement in 30 years for ovarian cancer treatment.

Niraparib can halt the disease for around 12 months, putting off the need for further chemotherapy and allowing women to have the best quality of life possible. It will be available for women with advanced ovarian cancer from their first round of treatment, meaning around 3,000 patients will have access to it every year.

Target Ovarian Cancer, a UK charity, described the treatment as a ‘major milestone’ in the fight against the disease.

Targeted treatments – so-called because they exploit specific weaknesses in cancer cells – such as niraparib are rare in ovarian cancer and just a handful have been approved for use on the NHS.

These treatments have previously been available only to women who have mutations on specific genes – approximately 13 per cent of all those diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And only patients whose cancer had returned were administered it. However, niraparib – which stops cancer cells from repairing themselves – will be available to all patients who are newly diagnosed with stage three or four ovarian cancer.

By XANTHA LEATHAM HEALTH AND SCIENCE REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL

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