With Gleevec, Cancer Patients Can Hope To Live 10 More Years
A 2001-FDA approved cancer drug, Gleevec, has been hailed as the new wonder drug for adding at least 10 more years to the lives of cancer patients. Also known as imatinib, the drug was developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals as a targeted drug to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that no additional health risks have been found for the drug nearly 17 years after its introduction into the market.
A CML diagnosis amounted to a death sentence
CML is a type of leukemia or blood cancer. According to the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), being diagnosed with the condition before the introduction of Gleevec was tantamount to a death sentence. This however is no longer the case since cancer patients now live above 10 years post-treatment with the drug.
The NCI revealed that nearly 5,000 new Americans are diagnosed with CML annually. In the current study, 1,106 participants from 177 cancer centers in over 16 countries were monitored to determine the efficacy of Gleevec and how it has prolonged their lives. Made to be taken only once a day, 83% of the followed patients have now lived 10 more years beyond when doctors said their lives would expire, WebMD reports.
Bharat Shah from Atlanta, Georgia, is a typical example of the efficacy of Gleevec. Shah was diagnosed with CML in 2000 and told he had between six months and three years to live. He began taking Gleevec that same year and he is still alive and well in 2017 - 17 years after his diagnosis. The drug has also been found to be effective in treating pediatric CML and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) among other types of cancers.
No additional side effects to taking Gleevec
Before Gleevec was approved for use in 2001, two out of three CML patients died within five years of diagnosis. This however is no longer the situation and doctors are happy their patients could have new lease of life extending beyond a decade, maybe even above two decades. Researchers also happy that no new side effects have been reported with Gleevec during the additional years it adds to patients.
Shah said the only side effect he observed is that his eyes get puffy sometimes. However, researchers say the most common effects they have observed with the drug are fatigue, itchy skin, nausea and muscle pain. It must however be pointed out that the patent for Gleevec expired last year, but its generic variants have also proved assuring to most medical doctors and they look forward to prescribing it to their CML patients.
Too Much Bacon, Soda and Too Little Nuts Linked To Highest Deaths in the US
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First Liver Transplant Surgeon, Thomas Starzl, Dies at 90
Officials and staff of both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are currently mourning the passing of Thomas Starzl. Dr. Starzl was the pioneer surgeon to first transplant livers into patients and also researched drugs that would make the body to accept new organ transplants. He died at his home on Saturday and was aged 90 years.
WHO Lists 12 Bacteria for Which Antibiotics No Longer Work
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a catalogue of 12 priority pathogens which have been very resistant to antibiotics. The objective behind listing the bacteria is to help scientists identify the pathogens and as well as develop newer effective antibiotics. WHO came up with the initiative to arrest the spread of pathogens that pose the greatest threat to public health.
This Is How A Trip To Mars Can Give You Leukemia; NASA-Backed Study Reveals
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Leukemia Treatment: New Combination Of Drugs To Battle Blood Cancer
Study revealed that combining obinutuzumab with TLR7 activation can enhance survival of mice with blood cancer. Researchers are now using this combination for developing leukemia treatment.
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