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Novel therapies show promise against myeloid leukemia

(San Diego, Calif., December 6, 2003) Leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, starts in the bone marrow but can spread to the blood, lymph nodes, and other organs. Because of its complexity and varying courses in each patient, the development of new and effective treatments for the disease has been challenging for scientists. According to research presented during the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, novel therapeutic approaches directed against unique targets provide new hope for those suffering from these diseases.

"While the survival rate for leukemia has improved in the past two decades, especially among children, it is still a very difficult disease to treat in adults," said Richard Larson, M.D., University of Chicago Hospital. "New treatments are beginning to improve survival."

Probability and Impact of Obtaining a Cytogenetic Response to Imatinib as Initial Therapy for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) in Chronic Phase (Abstract 634)

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a malignant cancer of the bone marrow, is one of the most common forms of leukemia. Imatinib (Gleevec), which blocks the abnormal protein driving the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells, has become the standard therapy for patients not undergoing stem cell transplantation. In newly diagnosed patients, researchers are still uncertain about the length of time imatinib should be administered to adequately determine a response. To assist patients and physicians in weighing the risks and benefits of continuing imatinib, this issue was recently examined by researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute by analyzing data on 553 newly diagnosed chronic phase patients who were treated intitially with imatinib as part of a multi-national study that compared imatinib to interferon+Ara-C (cytosine arabinoside, the previous standard therapy for CML).

Scientists
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Contact: Aimee Frank
amf@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
American Society of Hematology
6-Dec-2003


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