Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new use of Gleevec (imatinib)
to treat children newly diagnosed with
chromosome positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Philadelphia
ALL is the most common type of pediatric cancer and progresses quickly if untreated. Children with Ph+ ALL have a genetic abnormality that causes proteins called tyrosine kinases to stimulate the bone marrow to make too many immature white blood cells. This leaves less room for healthy white blood cells needed to fight infection.
Gleevec, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, blocks the proteins that promote the development of cancerous cells. It should be used in combination with chemotherapy to treat children with Ph+ ALL.
Gleevec was granted accelerated approval in 2001 to treat patients with blast crisis, accelerated phase or chronic phase Ph+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) who have failed interferon-alpha therapy. It has since been approved to treat several conditions, most recently regular approval to treat children newly diagnosed with Ph+ CML (2011) and regular approval to treat adults whose Kit (CD117)-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) have been surgically removed (2012).
More information at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm336868.htm