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Increasing benefit seen in novel drug that treats Gleevec resistance

ANAHEIM - An investigational drug is producing powerful responses in patients resistant to Gleevec, the targeted therapy that helps most people diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), an international research team headed by investigators at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is reporting.

The drug, AMN107, is showing an increasingly strong benefit as doses are being steadily raised, say the researchers, who presented their latest analysis at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In an ongoing study that has enrolled more than 100 patients, over 90 percent of those with the earlier stage "chronic" phase of CML have had a hematologic response, meaning their blood counts have returned to normal, says Francis Giles, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Department of Leukemia at M. D. Anderson. Additionally, more than 70 percent of patients with the advanced "accelerated" and terminal "blast" stages of the disease have similarly benefited, and the number of complete molecular remissions in patients also is steadily increasing, he says.

Giles can offer only estimates of response because he says that this study employs a new model of clinical trial design in which patients are continuously being given higher doses of the drug. "So the results change daily as patients fare increasingly better on higher doses," he says. "We are seeing benefit at lower doses that will only be fully quantifiable when all patients are on the maximal safe dose - a dose which we have not yet defined."

Clear activity was seen at the very first dose of 50 milligrams offered to the first patients who enrolled in May, 2004, Giles says. "This week everyone is being moved to the latest ceiling, which is 400 milligrams twice a day, and based on its safety and effectiveness, I believe we will soon move to 600 milligrams twice a day.

"If I had to guess, I would think the overall response rate across the whole p
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Contact: Nancy Jensen
nwjensen@mdanderson.org
713-792-0655
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
19-Apr-2005


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