Pink Hope is thrilled to share news with its community that the Theraputic Goods Administration (TGA) has now approved the use of the drug olaparib for use for those newly diagnosed with advanced high-grade ovarian cancer who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
Approximately 15 per cent of women diagnosed with high-grade ovarian cancer carry the BCRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, also commonly linked to breast cancer.
Olaparib is the first PARP inhibitor to be made available to this group of women from the first round of treatment, previously used as a targeted drug known to block cancer growth. An Ovarian, fallopian or peritoneal cancer diagnosis as a direct result of a women carrying a BRCA mutation are generally far more aggressive, and often diagnosed at a later stage, giving little hope to the patient in terms of survival, prognosis and quality of life.
According to olaparid clinical trials, if the drug is administered during the early stages of treatment, the risk of the disease worsening, or causing death at three years is reduced by 70 per cent amongst women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. While it has previously been used as an option for women with a recurrent disease, it will now be used as a first-line defence in managing a newly diagnosed patient.
Over the years, Pink Hope has connected with thousands of BRCA women and their families around the country and the world; some who have gone on to be diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian or peritoneal cancer.
As an organisation who specialises in the hereditary cancer space, we have directly witnessed the impact that the disease has, not only on the patient’s life, but their family and personal circumstances. When you have a patient with aggressive cancer who also carries a BRCA gene mutation, it becomes something the family has or has had to face for generations, and often the patient’s greatest concerns are centred around fear for their children being affected, more so than their own health.
Pink Hope’s founder, Krystal Barter says that the arrival of olaparid, brings with it much needed hope for families. “We have seen the benefit of this drug for women from across the entire country who are now or who were, despite their originally dire prognosis, able to have a much better quality of life during treatment, surrounded by their loved ones with little to no side effects as a result of the medication. While giving them longer survival than previously available treatments.”
The approval of this drug will create quality time for patients to be able to spend with family, with grandchildren and having time to plan, in years instead of months.
While olaparib has been registered by the TGA, it is not yet available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Women looking for additional information about olaparib, and whether it is a suitable treatment option for them should speak with their medical team.