Thanks to an Israeli drug that treats myeloid leukemia (CML), those diagnosed with this aggressive cancer have hope.
This is true for Sam Fields, a Jewish-American professional hockey player, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2003. During this time, the drug was still experimental. But today many rely on Gleevec’s healing power, like Fields. He’s been cancer free for almost 15 years!
Dr. Brian Druker, who led the original clinical development of Gleevec, co-authored the worldwide study which included 1,106 participants at 177 cancer centers in more than 16 countries. The study, published in the March 9th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that Gleevec keeps chronic CML at bay a full decade into treatment — with no signs of additional safety risks.
The story really begins back in 2001, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) granted priority review for imatinib mesylate, sold under the name Gleevec, as an oral therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML.
The nearly 11-year long follow-up study showed an estimated overall survival rate of 83.3 percent. According to the National Cancer Institute, prior to Gleevec’s 2001 FDA approval, fewer than 1 in 3 CML patients survived five years past diagnosis.