Novel drugs help solve Gleevec resistance

SAN DIEGO - Two different novel targeted therapies can produce strong responses in patients who have become resistant to Gleevec(tm), the standard therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are reporting.

Researchers say the benefits offered by these drugs, BMS-354825 and AMN107, appear to be promising for treatment of relapsed CML and offer an immediate effective option for the minority of patients who do not achieve an optimal response to Gleevec therapy.

M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the only institution to have tested both of these novel compounds, undertook independent Phase I clinical trials of both agents. It conducted the study of BMS-354825 in conjunction with the University of California, Los Angeles, and the study of AMN107 with the University of Frankfurt, in Germany. The M. D. Anderson researchers will discuss their experiences using these agents in patients with leukemia at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting.

BMS-354825 "shows remarkable activity"

In the study conducted at M. D. Anderson and at UCLA School of Medicine, the majority of patients with advanced, Gleevec-resistant CML have responded to the drug BMS-354825, says Moshe Talpaz, M.D., a professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at M. D. Anderson.

Of 11 patients with advanced "blast phase" CML, seven have had a hematologic response from the drug (defined as control of white blood cell counts). Of these, three patients experienced a complete hematologic response (disappearance of all findings consistent with advanced stage CML, and return of blood counts to normal), while two patients showed no evidence of leukemia. Two other patients had their CML downgraded to "chronic." Additionally, of the 11 patients, four have had a major "cytogenetic response" (defined as elimination of cells with the cancer-causing defect), and two had minor cytogenetic response

Contact: Nancy Jensen
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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