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What if TKIs Don’t Work?

There are other CML treatment options:

  • Immunotherapy helps your immune system destroy the cancer. One example is a drug, interferon, that is injected daily.  
  • Chemotherapy kills abnormal cells in the body, but it isn't as effective for CML as it is for other types of leukemia. It’s usually reserved for patients in blast crisis, a phase when infections and bleeding are common and can be life-threatening.

Allogeneic stem cell transplant is the only potential cure for CML. It replaces abnormal white blood cells with stem cells from a matched donor and results in healthy blood cells being made. But there are serious risks, including graft-versus-host disease, called GVHD. This happens when new stem cells attack the body.

Now that TKI drugs can turn CML into a chronic disease, stem cell transplants are reserved for people who aren't helped by TKIs, or people in crisis.

When CML Progresses

If other treatments don't work, experimental treatment may be an option. Researchers test new therapies in clinical trials, which could give you access to cutting-edge treatments not yet available to the general public. To find out more, talk to your doctor.