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Phase I trial indicates ponatinib may thwart most resistant CML
Date:12/6/2010

ORLANDO A new drug appears to help chronic myeloid leukemia patients who are out of treatment options after first- and second-line drugs have failed them or because their cancer cells have a mutation that makes them resistant from the start, researchers reported at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

In a Phase I clinical trial, the drug ponatinib produced major or complete hematologic responses (absence of CML cells in the blood) and cytogenetic responses (absence of leukemia cells in the bone marrow) among two groups of patients:

  • Those who have tried two or three of the drugs that have revolutionized treatment of CML imatinib (Gleevec), nilotinib (Tasigna) and dasatinib (Sprycel) and developed resistance to them.

  • And those whose leukemia cells carry the T315I mutation, which resists all current therapies.

"Ponatinib seems to be filling the gap we had for patients who right now have no good treatments left," said Jorge Cortes, M.D., professor in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Leukemia, who presented the group's findings. "We are very encouraged by such strong results in the Phase I setting and have begun a pivotal Phase II clinical trial."

Preclinical research had indicated that ponatinib, developed by ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, inhibits all mutations that cause resistance to drugs that stifle the BCR-ABL protein which drives CML. BCR-ABL is produced by the aberrant gene bcr-abl, which occurs when two chromosomes swap portions of their DNA from separate bcr and abl genes. The abnormality is called the Philadelphia chromosome.

As of July 2010, 67 patients were enrolled in the study: 57 with CML, including 42 in the chronic, or early, stage, seven in the accelerated stage and eight in the blast phase, the most advanced form of the disease. Three had Philadelphia-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia, three had acute myeloid le
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-516-4855
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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Phase I trial indicates ponatinib may thwart most resistant CML
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