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A Study of Niraparib Maintenance Treatment in Patients With Advanced Ovarian Cancer Following Response on Front-Line Platinum-Based Chemotherapy

About PARP and PARP Inhibitors

To understand PARP and PARP inhibitors, it helps to know about DNA. Every cell in our bodies contains DNA, which is like a blueprint that tells the cell how to function. Over time, DNA can be damaged by the environment, normal aging, and many other factors. This damage results in hundreds of thousands of tiny breaks in the DNA. Usually, healthy cells can easily repair these breaks. When cells are unable to repair the breaks, the cells can die.

The BRCA gene creates a protein that helps DNA repair itself. If the BRCA gene is damaged, the repair process doesn’t work the way it should. Instead, the repair process sometimes creates cancerous cells. People who inherit a damaged BRCA gene are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and certain other cancers.

Another protein involved in DNA repair is PARP, or poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. The PARP protein travels along DNA looking for breaks. When it finds these breaks, it repairs them.

PARP inhibitors prevent PARP from doing its job. PARP inhibitors may prevent cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, which can cause cancer cells to die. This may slow the return or the progression of cancer. PARP inhibitors can also affect other cells and tissues in the body.