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Gleevec and CML
Old 06-05-2007, 08:42 AM   #1
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Gleevec and CML

A family member had been feeling sick and had very high white blood counts for about a year. She went to several doctors but none of them could diagnose her, she was treated for an infectious disease with lots of antibiotics but didn't respond to them.

She was finally diagnosed by a specialist for a type of Leukemia known as Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, or CML. Good news is, it turns out there is a new pill that controls this disease, it's called Gleevec. Even though it doesn't cure it, you can live a normal lifespan and lifestyle with this pill. Bad news, it has to be taken every day for the rest of your life, and it costs about $3000 per month! Medicare will cover it with the usual deductibles and "doughnut hole" expenses but they fought her about it until she found a physician who was willing to deal with the Medicare bureaucracy. It also casues terrible stomach upsets but they say eventually the body gets used to it.

So if you know anyone with a high white blood count whose doctors can't diagnose it, have them asked to be referred to a specialist who knows about CML. There is a test for it involving a certain chromosome called the Philadelphia Chromosome, and it takes a specialist and a long time for the test to come back.
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Old 06-05-2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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A family member ...was finally diagnosed by a specialist for a type of Leukemia known as Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, or CML. Good news is, it turns out there is a new pill that controls this disease, it's called Gleevec.
I certainly hope your family member continues to do well. Gleevec is one of the real breakthrough treatments for leukemia in my lifetime. it's all the more impressive because it was developed specifically to inhibit a particular enzyme based on genetic and molecular science, as opposed to one of those many "accidental" or serendipitous discoveries.

Between this and bone marrow transplant (usually for younger patients) CML has gone from almost always fatal to usully controllable or curable. Note that there are many kinds of leukemia and this is not used for most of the other types.

Best of luck in your relative's treatment.
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:14 PM   #3
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Rich, do you think we may see a pill for prostate cancer someday?
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:17 PM   #4
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Rich, do you think we may see a pill for prostate cancer someday?
Yes, I think so but know of nothing miraculous in the pipeline. There is an injectable anti-hormone treatment that inhibits the disease in many men but it's not a cure.

With most cancers, the "miracle" drugs turn out to be incremental improvements but not like Gleevec. OTOH you never know when the next breakthrough will arrive.
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:24 PM   #5
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Yes, I think so but know of nothing miraculous in the pipeline.
Rich, what do you think of this J591 stuff? It was just on our local news, and I found a story about it.

"Dr. Oscar Goodman Jr., an oncologist, says, "This is therapy that specifically recognizes the prostate cancer cell and delivers a cargo, to target and destroy the cancer cells." "

WIStv.com Columbia, SC: Health Alert: Prostate cancer
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:53 PM   #6
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Rich, what do you think of this J591 stuff? It was just on our local news, and I found a story about it.

"Dr. Oscar Goodman Jr., an oncologist, says, "This is therapy that specifically recognizes the prostate cancer cell and delivers a cargo, to target and destroy the cancer cells."


Don't know -- too soon. The concept of "antiangiogenesis" (attacking the formation of new blood vessels on which tumors depend) has been disappointing so far though it shows some benefit in advanced colon cancer and a few others.

May not be the magic bullet, but it's imortant work nonetheless.
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Old 06-07-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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May not be the magic bullet, but it's imortant work nonetheless.
Thanks. Just realized I forgot to post the link, here it is.
WIStv.com Columbia, SC: Health Alert: Prostate cancer
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