Many of you may not be aware of ASCO - the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It is the pre-eminent organization of clinical oncology specialists in United States with 30,000 plus members worldwide and includes all branches and sub-branches of oncology. ASCO meets once a year and the meeting - held in Chicago June 3-7, 2011 - is widely anticipated by one and all.
The theme this year is Patients, Pathways and Progress. It is THE forum for the release of clinical trial results, presentation of breaking developments and information exchange. Most major drug companies schedule their announcements around this meeting. Many, many submissions are made for presentations - only the most newsworthy are chosen.
"Teaser" headlines have been in the press for weeks concerning a drug currently in Phase II ovarian cancer clinical trials called Olaparib. The drug is a so-called PARP inhibitor. A PARP is an enzyme which repairs DNA damage and scientists now believe that it works the same in ovarian cancer cells. The PARP enzyme restores cancer cells - after damage by chemotherapy - to their original menacing state. A PARP inhibitor therefore, would prevent the damaged cancer cell from repairing itself. This study drug has shown great promise in that it impairs tumour growth but doesn't affect normal healthy cells - greatly reducing toxic side-effects. This drug, if successful, is not a cure but a major roadblock for ovarian cancer cell proliferation.
I am very interested in the Phase II trial results which will be presented in June at ASCO. My medical oncologist has followed this drug's trials to date and has suggested that I could possibly benefit from participation in Phase III of which he has a patient allocation. He will attend ASCO and I will anxiously await his feedback.