Cancer treatment gets a boost with medical breakthrough

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV)- Poly ADP ribose polymerase, or *parp. The term may not mean much to you, now, but for millions of people living with cancer it could be just the breakthrough they need. Last week the New England Journal of Medicine published researched about the success of a new drug.

"I think this is going to be a big breakthrough," says oncologist Gary Gross with the Blood and Cancer Center of East Texas, "You give chemo and it works a while then it quits working. What's going on inside the cell... well what's going on... It takes the hit, it figures out a way to rebuild, get healthy again... and start growing again."

Dr. Gross says PARP inhibitors keeps those potentially cancerous, potentially deadly cells, from repairing themselves; even the most aggressive breast cancer cells, "It's like you throw a knockout punch and it can't get it off the mat."

He says the results are promising, mostly in younger women.

According to Dr. Gross,  the early we can treat cancer, the greater the possibility for more lives saved, "Women who took this treatment which include the chemo therapy and the parp inhibitor had a 60 percent better response than the women who didn't get this parp inhibitor and just took the chemo therapy."

However, the doctor is hesitant to use the word cure, "you just sprinkle this parp inhibitor in the water supply,and we all drink it, and none of us gets cancer... No... We answer some questions and there are still huge questions unanswered."

But that doesn't keep him from being optimistic about the future, "This is a front where we clearly are going to have a victory but there are other fronts where the battle is ongoing."

Dr. Gross says it's possible to see those new drugs on the market within the next couple of years.

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