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A new drug has been launched in the UK to treat adults with chronic myelogenous leukaemia.
Tasigna (nilotinib) is a new option for treating patients who are intolerant or resistant to previous therapies.
The drug, manufactured by Novartis, was given European approval after tests showed 77% of patients who had no haematological response when they started taking Tasigna saw their blood cell counts return to normal after treatment. And 40% of patients achieved a complete cytogenic response, meaning that no abnormal chromosomes, the root cause of CML, were found in the bone marrow cells.
Tasigna was developed to more specifically target the cause of CML(Bcr-ABL) than the current treatment, Glivec (imatinib).
Most CML patients can be treated with Glivec but an estimated 3% cannot take the drug because of intolerance or because their cancer mutates and becomes resistant to it.
Tasigna trialist, Professor Richard Clark, consultant haematologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospital said: “Running out of treatment options is a terrible scenario for any patient with CML, a disease where the prognosis has not always been good.
“The arrival of Tasigna is a major step forward for those patients that do not respond to existing treatments. To be able to offer patients a reliable and effective option with a good safety profile is a significant advance in the treatment of CML.”
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