Imatinib has been used for years as way to treat CML. Imatinib itself is a BCR-ABL1 kinase inhibitor that isn’t without its list of adverse drug reactions. Due to these reactions, there are some patients that become so ill that they are unable to tolerate it and therefore they cannot use this long term to treat their CML.

However, a review over a ten year period by the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that despite the fact that initially there is a high level of toxicity, this does not persist during the lifetime of the drugs administration. The excellent news in this situation is that out of the patients tested during this time that had been given Imatinib, 83% had a complete lack of the BCR-ABL protein present in the bone marrow. This would therefore suggest that they have been cured of the CML.

This really is an exciting step in the treatment of CML as it is a frightening time for not only the patient, but also their family and friends as well. However, given that Imatinib is indeed useful for long term CML treatment, it is a step in the right direction.