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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded wider approval for use of the leukaemia drug Tasigna to treat a rare form of the blood cancer at an earlier stage, it has been announced.
Adults with chronic myeloid leukaemia, or CML, have up to now been using Tasigna only once they stopped responding to treatment by older drug Gleevec.
Sales of Tasigna, known chemically as nilotinib, could increase massively in view of the new approval. Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG produces both Tasigna and Gleevec.
Novartis carried out research which directly compared the two treatments, and Tasigna was found to produce better results than Gleevec, paving the way for the new FDA approval.
In a study that lasted a year, almost half (44%) of patients taking Tasigna had a major molecular response compared to 22% for Gleevec.
Copyright Press Association 2010
Food and Drug Administration