Gleevec, a promising new type of cancer drug created by Novartis, has been approved by the FDA in record-breaking time. The FDA’s orphan drug program provides incentives to develop drugs to treat rare diseases.
Gleevec is a once-a-day oral treatment for CML, a rare form of chronic leukemia. Most cancer drugs work by killing more of the tumor’s cells than the patient’s. Gleevec is the first of its kind developed to fight cancer by turning off an enzyme that causes cells to become cancerous and multiply.
I suspect that this type of molecular targeting will prove enormously useful in other forms of cancers as well. This approach may even change the way we treat all diseases. The first dose of 21st century medicine is here!