Kathleen’s Desk

FDA Approves Gleevec to Treat Children with Ph+ ALL

by Kathleen Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 25, 2013


Little victories are made in research labs every day in the long, determined fight against childhood cancers, but today, I’m excited to say, is a big victory kind of day.  More kids with a specific type of cancer will survive!

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Gleevec (imatinib) to treat children newly diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL).
You helped make this happen!

The study that led to today’s approval was funded in part by YOUR support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, through our grants to the Children’s Oncology Group!

Last year, we shared early news of five exciting childhood cancer research outcomes that the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has contributed to.  One of these was the increase in survival rate from 20% to 70% for children with Ph+ ALL – a rare and very challenging type of leukemia that had seen very little progress in research in 50 years.

Today’s FDA approval is great news based on this study which discovered the effectiveness of combining Gleevec (a targeted drug previously used to treat adult cancers) with typical chemotherapy regimens.

This means that children diagnosed with Ph+ ALL now have a higher chance at survival.  Think about that – from 20% to 70% – That’s big progress!

Ph+ ALL is one type of leukemia, which is one of 12 major types and many more subtypes of childhood cancer.  By making a donation to fund research and speaking up to advocate, you can help the St. Baldrick’s community keep fighting for results like this – and better – for all kids fighting cancer!