I've just been to see a doctor in Newcastle about joining a PARP inhibitor trial and thought you might like to know about it, as it was explained to me.
You might already know that PARP inhibitors are new drugs which are showing good results in ladies with OC and the BRCA1 gene mutation.
I had asked my oncologist about them the last time I saw him and although they are not suitable for me now as I am in remission, he referred me for consideration for the trials when the cancer returns.
The doctor said they are in phase 2, so they have had trials for dosage levels and are now being given to women and monitored for effectiveness and side effects, so everyone on the trial gets the drug (rather than earlier stages where you could get a placebo). There are various points at which spaces come up, so if my cancer recurs at one of these points, I may be able to join the trial. It is daily tablets and so far has shown good results with few side effects. These can be fatigue and mild nausea. He was a bit vague on monitoring, but it seemed to be visits every 2 or 3 weeks and regular CT scans.
What threw me, though, was that it is a replacement for chemo. Who wouldn't want a drug as effective as chemo with hardly any side effects, but I'm not really sure I would be prepared to trust this over a tried and tested effective if very unpleasant treatment. Unlike chemo though, you can go on taking it rather than in pulses.
I also had an interesting chat with one of the trials nurses, who said that new treatments do come up, and if they know someone is interested, they can bear them in mind should there be something suitable. They did seem keen to recruit though; the doctor said that there aren't that many women with BRAC1 and OC, although we may feel differently!
I said if there is ever a dream drug which prolongs remission without any side effects- I'll be there.
So I don't know what I'll do when the time comes. Obviously the choice isn't totally within my control as it is a huge timing issue: my disease coinciding with trial spaces. although they did say it can still be taken after second line chemo. I'll think I'll just bury my head for now and decide that this remission is going to last ages and I won't need to think about it!
I just thought I would share the info as I know we have occasionally discussed both getting on trials and PARP inhibitors. Hope it helps.
PS one of the things that really gives me hope though, is that these new treatments are so close, and perhaps they won't be able to help us, now, but I think women in the future will have more choice and better options.