Tags: gleevec | cancer | pill | chronic myeloid leukemia

Gleevec Cancer Pill Is Proven in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Image: Gleevec Cancer Pill Is Proven in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Imatinib mesylate, also known as Gleevec (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)

By    |   Friday, 10 Mar 2017 06:39 AM

Gleevec, the cancer pill used for patients suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia, has shown to dramatically increase the survival rate in those patients, according to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday.

The 11-year follow-up study showed the survival rate of CML patients has improved to 83.3 percent today, up from a one-in-three rate five years after diagnoses in 2001 (before the drug's approval), according to Oregon Health and Science University.

Those surviving patients using the once-a-day pill are now living at least 10 years longer, though with side-effects that include a characteristic rash, nausea and fatigue, according to NBC News.

"The long-term success of this treatment confirms the remarkable success we've seen since the very first Gleevec trials," said Dr. Brian Druker, co-author of the study and director of the university's Knight Cancer Institute. "This study reinforces the notion that we can create effective and non-toxic therapies."

The international New England Journal of Medicine study enrolled 1,106 participants at 177 cancer centers in more than 16 countries.

Gleevec, which is the market name for the cancer drug Imatinib, is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, according the National Cancer Institute. The drug's development has improved scientists' understanding of how the specific biology of a disease can lead to better cancer treatments or even a cure.

The development of such tyrosine kinase inhibitors has led to breakthrough treatment of other cancers as well, including some forms of gastrointestinal stromal tumors and some forms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children.

NBC News said Gleevec had worked so well over time that its trial testing against the older chemo regimen was stopped so everyone could get the pill.

"It's the first targeted personalized medicine that had ever been used. It was also the most successful," Dr. Richard Silver, a hematologist and oncologist at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, told NBC News. "This has been the thrill of my life."

The cost for Gleevec, though, can still cost patients more than $140,000 a year, said Dr. Hagop Kantarjian of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Oncologists have been pressuring Gleevec's maker, Novartis, and generic makers to bring the price down.

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Gleevec, the cancer pill used for patients suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia, has shown to dramatically increase the survival rate in those patients, according to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday.
gleevec, cancer, pill, chronic myeloid leukemia
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2017-39-10
Friday, 10 Mar 2017 06:39 AM
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