Meet OlaparibImage by: Movember
8 October 2021

First precision medicine for prostate cancer approved for use in Australia

2 minutes read time

The world’s first precision medicine for prostate cancer has been approved for use in Australia.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has registered Olaparib (Lynparza) to treat an aggressive and advanced type of the disease that has faulty DNA damage repair genes. It has also been approved for use in the US, EU, Japan, and Canada.

The drug, which has been proven to extend survival for some men with advanced disease, works by stopping one of the two DNA damage repair mechanisms. So, in men whose prostate cancer already has faulty genes that impair the other repair mechanism, Olaparib can effectively kill cancer cells.

It is the first targeted drug of its kind and it is hoped that it will benefit up to a third of men with aggressive prostate cancer.

" The approval of PARP inhibitors is a landmark achievement in prostate cancer care. "

The breakthrough is the culmination of a decade of research involving collaboration between scientific teams around the world and supported by Movember funding.

AstraZeneca, the company, that manufactures Olaparib is also currently in discussions with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee about listing the drug onto the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which would allow more access for men.

Movember's contribution to the development of Olaparib as a medicine for prostate cancer came through Dr Joaquin Mateo’s Clinician Fellowship Training Award in 2014.

Dr Mateo, a medical oncologist and head of the Prostate Cancer Translational Research Group, Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Barcelona, said: “I am proud to have had Movember’s support for my PhD studies during the early stages of this project at the ICR and The Royal Marsden in London.

“The approval of PARP inhibitors is a landmark achievement in prostate cancer care. It brings not only a new therapeutic option for some patients, but also confirms that tailoring treatments to genetic profiling can result in more precise care for men with this disease.”

Dr Sarah Hsaio, Director of Biomedical Research and Impact at Movember said: “This revolutionary approach to treating prostate cancer means that fewer men will needlessly suffer the side effects of treatments that are unlikely to work for their particular disease. We hope this drug will improve the lives of men with prostate cancer in the very near future."