Molecular breakthrough offers new hope for patients with life-threatening form of blood cancer who fail or intolerant to current therapies
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Martin Vanderwoude: Chronic myeloid leukaemia is a slowly progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow that makes the body produce too many white blood cells which do not mature and crowd out the healthy cells. There are a limited therapeutic options for adult patience who fail are intolerant to prior therapy including Gleevec. For these patients Health Canada has approved with conditions under the notice of compliance with condition policy a new medication called Sprycel. Doctor Jeff Lipton Medical Oncologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto specializes in the treatment of patients with CML. Jeff Lipton: For patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia they have had very good treatment around now on the market for more than five years, which for most of them have controlled the disease and allowed them to live pretty good lives. For about 20-30% of these patients, they can’t take the drug for various reason or the drug doesn’t work very well. And for those patients the option is Sprycel. It's multi-targeted inhibitor so it's works at number of sites in the abnormal cell. It will control the disease, we hope for a very long period of time and cure them but if it allows them to live a normal life for a long time it's just as good. Martin Vanderwoude: Sprycel is an oral treatment and unique to other treatments because it targets the cancerous cells without comprising healthy cells. Patient support groups like the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society are excited about the immediate impact, the newly approved treatment will have for CML patients. Rudy Putns Chief Executive Officer of the L.L.S says their whole philosophy is to offer a support and hope. Rudy Putns: When a patient hears that their treatment isn’t working for them, their world stops. All they is know that they are losing hope and fortunately research and development doesn’t stops. So new treatments are available and now there is a new one that’s available for CML patients who haven’t responded. Sprycel is now available. Martin Vanderwoude: This approval by Health Canada is of particular significance to patients who have failed or intolerant to previous treatments, Andre Boldireff has been living with C.M.L. Andre Boldireff: Being told I had the leukaemia cancer of the blood was devastating. Not only for me but for my entire family. However, with faith there is always hope and so for a period of four years I tried different treatments but with limited success, they only worked temporarily Martin Vanderwoude: Cheryl-Anne Simoneau President and CEO of the CML society also thinks this new treatment will have a positive impact on patients. Cheryl-Anne Simoneau: Of course the ultimate goal is a cure and I think what most patients are happy about is with Sprycel, we have another options to help keep us healthy while researchers look for a cure. Martin Vanderwoude: People who want to learn more about Sprycel should talk to their doctor. Martin Vanderwoude reporting.