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HomeFeaturesSIDEBAR | Gleevec: Target therapy for cancer treatment

SIDEBAR | Gleevec: Target therapy for cancer treatment

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Presented by Meganox Food Supplement

What is Gleevec and why is it slowly making waves as an effective treatment for cancer?

The key words are imatinib mesylate.

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According to the National Cancer Institute, the organization that helps support studies on cancer treatments including imatinib, there is hope for people with cancer through what is called as targeted therapy.

Imatinib has shown progress in the treatment of patients especially those with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a type of blood cancer against which the drug was first administered.

NCI has called it a “landmark drug,” which led to a series of discoveries that resulted in the development of imatinib (Gleevec) that has vastly improved the outcomes of patients with a type of blood cancer called CML . These discoveries also helped establish a new group of drugs (known as targeted therapy) that has changed the field of cancer research.

WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES

Gleevec is in pill form, taken orally with water once or twice daily.

It used targeted therapy, a form of treatment that targets and attacks cancer cells without damaging the normal cells, thus leading to fewer side effects.

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While other treatments tend to be invasive and damage healthy cells, target therapy is more accurate.

This kind of therapy is the product of about a hundred years of study and research particularly on cell behavior, chromosomes, and CML.

But the breakthrough for imatinib came in the 90s when scientists from Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis after it merged with Sandoz), led by Nicholas Lydon along with Elisabeth Buchdunger and Jürg Zimmermann conducted a series of experiments in their search to develop treatment for cancer.

The scientists went over a series of compounds that could target cancer cells in leukemia, and they saw one that did precisely that.

Oncologist Brian Druker of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) then decided to use it in the treatment of CML.

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It’s use has spread since in various labs and hospitals including those in Italy, and the UK.

Druker led the clinical trials confirming its efficacy in treating CML.

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Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

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