Ralph Moss comments on Gleevec

In May, the FDA approved a drug called Gleevec (STI-571) as a treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The media went wild. Barron's headlined: "Investing in Health, Curing Cancer!" It claimed "we are finally winning the war." The New York Times announced "the long-awaited payoff from decades of research into the molecular biology of cancer." Time went over the top.

Its May 28, 2001 cover demanded,"Is this the breakthrough we've been waiting for?" The word "CANCER" was two inches high! It referred to "a magic pill, a miracle breakthrough." Not surprisingly, Gleevec flew off the shelves, at a cost per person of $30,000 per year. Although CML affects only 0.3 percent of all cancer patients, every kind of patient wanted this "miracle." You can hardly blame them.

( View photo of the covers at: http://www.cancerdecisions.com/images/covers.jpg )

But where's Gleevec now? At a recent symposium in New York researchers quietly voiced their growing skepticism."There are provocative datain CML patients showing these are highly resistant to Gleevec," said Connie J. Eaves, PhD of British Columbia. "Stem cells in CML may not be responsive to this agent at all.We are completely swept away by responses that may not have very much to do with cure at all."

Rudiger Hehlmann, MD of Heidelberg, Germany, agreed. He told researchers to remember that there are no survival data for the use of this drug yet, except for patients in blast crisis. "Euphoria is a bad advisor in treatment," he added, sardonically.

John Goldman, MD, chief of hematology at Hammersmith Hospital, London, said Gleevec as a single agent will not even cure the majority of CML patients. "We do not know what the basis for resistance is. It may be acquired, or the disease may already be resistant before the drug is used."

Ralph Moss' site


Leukemia Gene Morphs & Evades Gleevec

Nature News Service, 6/01

Severe Cutaneous Reactions to Gleevec

Brit J Cancer, 4/03

BMS-354825 For Gleevec-resistant CML

Science, 7/04

Altered bone & mineral metabolism in patients Gleevec

N Engl J Med. 2006 May 11;354(19):2006-13.

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