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Targeted Therapy for Leukemia May Prove a Breakthrough

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According to Goldman, STI571 is now being tested for patients with lung, prostate, and brain tumors.

And how is Littrell doing? "I got on the [STI571] pills in December [1999]," she says. "I didn't have to have the [second] transplant. I didn't miss any work -- I continued my life in normal fashion. We go snowmobiling in the winter and boating in the summer. ... This drug has just been a miracle. ... It's literally given me a future. My prognosis with a second transplant was 20% chance of survival in the first year." Currently, her long-term prognosis is unclear, but Littrell and her doctor are very optimistic.

Novartis, maker of STI571, requested approval of the drug in February. The FDA put the drug on priority review, a status reserved for treatments that promise to offer a significant improvement over currently available treatments. If STI571 is approved, it will be sold as Glivec later this year.

 

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