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Early Data Show Potential for Imatinib Mesylate Tablets to Treat Life-Threatening Form of Pulmonary Artery Disease
Date:10/8/2008


-- Exploratory study shows clinical improvement in patients with pulmonary

arterial hypertension (PAH)

-- Current treatment options have limited benefit for this debilitating,

rapidly progressive and incurable blood vessel disease

-- Imatinib mesylate, available as Gleevec(R) for treatment of certain

cancers, known to inhibit protein associated with PAH

-- Novartis to further explore potential of imatinib mesylate in PAH in

2009

EAST HANOVER, N.J., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- An early proof-of-concept study presented today shows promising results for imatinib mesylate in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a severe, incurable blood vessel disorder.

Preliminary findings from a 59-patient, multi-center Phase II clinical trial suggest imatinib mesylate provides a treatment benefit, as demonstrated by a significant improvement in pulmonary vascular resistance and a numerical increase in cardiac output, key hemodynamic measures used to monitor the progression of the disease. Improvements in the six-minute walk test, the primary endpoint of the study, approached, but did not reach, statistical significance.

These initial data were presented today at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) congress in Berlin, Germany, and further details on the study are expected to be published later this year. Imatinib mesylate is available for oncology indications as Gleevec(R) in the US, Canada and Israel and as Glivec(R) (imatinib), in countries outside of the US, Canada and Israel.

"The outcomes of this trial are clinically important given the rapid progression of PAH and the poor prognosis for these patients," said Professor Ardeschir Ghofrani, MD, Head of Pulmonary Hypertension Division, University Hospital Giessen und Marburg, Germany. "Our observations suggest that imatinib mesylate holds promise in treating PAH."

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SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
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