Trials affirm value of drug | Science News



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Trials affirm value of drug

3:18pm, November 15, 2004

From San Francisco, at the American Society of Hematology's 42nd annual meeting.

When STI-571 first made news in 1999, it seemed almost too good to be true. In patients with low-grade chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), it seemed to kill tumor cells like a heatseeking missile destroys a target (SN: 12/11/99, p. 372). Now, further testing of STI-571, called Glivec by Novartis Oncology of East Hanover, N.J., supports the early findings. The new research also indicates that the intravenous drug may help patients who've progressed to fullblown CML.

An international team led by researchers at the Jonsson Cancer Center of the University of California, Los Angeles gave STI-571 daily to 260 patients with full-blown CML. These patients had entered a stage of the disease in which immature white blood cells flood the bone marrow.

In this acute form, the disease usually proves fatal within 2 to 3 months. During the 6 months after treatment began, hematologist Charles

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