Leukemia patients can develop resistance to the one drug that is keeping their cancer at bay. Now two new drugs may be able to help.
The drug Gleevec has been considered the standard for treatment of certain kinds of leukemia, however many patients develop genetic mutations that do not allow their body to respond to the drug. Now two new drugs being tested, Dasatinib and Nilotinib, they have been shown to reverse the symptoms of leukemia in patients who no longer respond to Gleevec.
For example, eleven of the twelve patients with early-stage leukemia who took Nilotinib went into complete remission. Both drugs did not have serious side effects. They will soon be up for approval by the FDA.
Experts say about five thousand patients are affected by leukemia each year in the US. Novartis is developing Nilotinib, Bristol Myers Squibb is developing Dasatinib. Both drugs worked differently in the several stages of disease.