New Cancer Treatment Brings Hope in 2001

Essay by dimsy December 2003

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New Cancer Treatment Brings Hope in 2001 by Liza Jane Maltin

On May 10 2001, FDA approved a new drug known as Gleevec (formerly St1- 571) for successfully treating cancer of the white blood cells known as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and a rare form of cancer that affects the stomach and intestines called gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST).

According to Michael Heinrich, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland and a member of the team that developed Gleevec, conventional leukemia therapy like chemotherapy and radiation, kill abnormal marrow cells, but also destroy healthy ones and therefore extremely difficult to tolerate. Gleevec, on the other hand, selectively targets an abnormal cancer - causing protein called BCR-ABL, which causes the cancerous white blood cells to grow out of control.

Research is underway to test Gleevec's effectiveness against some kinds of brain, lung, prostate, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

Heinrich is optimistic about the preliminary results and predicts fundamental changes not only in how we treat cancer, but also in the very way we think and talk about it.

Works Citied

Maltin Jane Liza, "New Cancer Treatment Brings Hope in 2001". WebMD Health, Dec. 26, 2001