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Novartis Oncology Launches GIST Alliance™ for Healthcare Professionals Treating Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Date:1/29/2009

Novartis Oncology is introducing GIST Alliance™, a unique support program with the goal to help healthcare professionals optimize outcomes in KIT-positive GIST patients.

East Hanover, NJ (PRWEB) January 29, 2009 -- Though rare, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are currently the most common mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, with an estimated 3,300 to 6,000 new cases reported each year in the United States (1, 2). Approximately 2,500 of these cases are metastatic at diagnosis (3).

GISTs are soft tissue sarcomas. Sarcomas are difficult to differentiate from other malignancies when they are found within organs; thus, they are frequently misdiagnosed and highly underreported (4).

Novartis Oncology is introducing GIST Alliance™, a unique support program with the goal to help healthcare professionals optimize outcomes in KIT-positive GIST patients.

Novartis Oncology, the global leader in KIT-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumor (KIT+ GIST) therapy, has been working with healthcare professionals and patients worldwide to help improve the treatment of KIT+ GIST. GIST Alliance is a distinctive, integrated program that builds on the support and educational materials that Novartis Oncology has been providing to healthcare professionals and patients/caregivers by offering access to the most current resources.

For healthcare professionals, GIST Alliance provides and facilitates access to:

  • Educational information on the diagnosis and clinical management of GIST
  • Details on imaging/radiologic techniques used in the evaluation of GIST
  • Educational information on the response of GISTs to targeted therapies
  • Criteria for risk of GIST recurrence
  • Blood level testing services at no cost to patients
  • Resources to ease the reimbursement process for physicians and their patients
  • Information about Novartis Oncology clinical trials for both existing GIST therapies and investigational GIST agents
  • Email, telephone, and direct mail support services to respond to supplementary healthcare professional inquiries
Until the approval of oral therapies, patients with KIT+ GIST had very few treatment options. Traditional cancer therapies--such as chemotherapy and radiation--have been mostly ineffective in treating the disease. Surgical resection remains the primary intervention indicated for the management of GIST but is not always appropriate under certain conditions (5, 6).

Through GIST Alliance, Novartis Oncology is committed to develop and deliver a comprehensive strategy for healthcare professionals to get KIT+GIST patients started on treatment.

GIST Alliance is available at no cost to healthcare professionals, patients, or caregivers. Enrollment and/or participation in GIST Alliance are voluntary.

For more information visit the GIST Alliance Web site at www.GISTAlliance.com.

Sources:

1. Corless CL, Heinrich MC. Molecular pathobiology of gastrointestinal stromal sarcomas. Annu Rev Pathol Mech Dis. 2008;3:557-586.
2. Demetri GD, Benjamin RS, Blanke CD, et al. NCCN task force report: management of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)--update of the NCCN clinical practice guidelines. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2007;5(Suppl2):S1-S29.
3. Griffin JM, St Amand M, Demetri GD. Nursing implication of imatinib as molecularly targeted therapy for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2005;9(2):161-169.
4. National Cancer Institute. A snapshot of sarcoma. NCI's Office of Science Planning and Assessment (OSPA). http://planning.cancer.gov/disease/Sarcoma-Snapshot.pdf. 2008, September: 1-2.
5. DeMatteo RP, Lewis JJ, Leung D, Mudan SS, Woodrull JM, Brennan MF. Two hundred gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Recurrence patterns and prognostic factors for survival. Ann Surg. 2000;231(1):51-58.
6. Rutkowski P, Debiec-Rychter M, Noweki ZI, et al. Different factors are responsible for predicting relapses after primary tumors resection and for imatinib treatment outcomes in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Med Sci Monit. 2007;13(11):CR515-CR522.

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