Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and the Development of Gleevec

Why is the story of the development of Gleevec important?

Although I have not yet had the opportunity to have direct experience with the use of Gleevec, I am extremely excited by the development of this agent and look forward to having it available to treat my chronic myeloid leukemia patients. This article will focus on the extraordinary story of the development of Gleevec and how it has been intimately intertwined with our growing understanding of this rare type of leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells).

The development of this drug has been particularly satisfying intellectually, with direct benefits for patient care arising from several decades of basic science research. Furthermore, the story of this drug illustrates the promises of the human genome project and reflects the vast investment made in the basic science of human biology over the past four decades. The human genome project is a monumental international effort to identify all of the genetic information in the human chromosomes.