Our bodies have their own built-in toolbox, and it’s filled with proteins, enzymes and many other tools that help the body to function. One of these is PARP, a protein that plays a role in repairing faulty DNA. This same protein also was found to repair certain types of cancer cells, a finding which led researchers – at AbbVie and elsewhere – to explore PARP and the effects of blocking its function.
The foundational research into DNA repair received major acknowledgement when a trio of research scientists was recognized with the Nobel Prize in chemistry for “mechanistic studies of DNA repair” in human cells. Working independently, Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar discovered how cells can repair DNA damage caused by genetic factors and copying errors that occur during cellular division, as well as mutations caused by environmental factors, such as sunlight UV radiation, cigarette smoke and other toxins.
“Understanding the ways in which DNA repairs itself is fundamental to our understanding of inherited genetic disorders and of diseases like cancer,” said Sir Martyn Poliakoff, vice president of the U.K.’s Royal Society, at the Nobel announcement.
AbbVie’s interest in PARP inhibition has its foundation in Nobel prize-winning chemistry.