The FDA approved an older medicine for a new use in children today-
FDA approves Gleevec for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It belongs to a family of medicines called signal transduction inhibitors (tyrosine kinase inhibitors) which came to regular approval for treatment of stomach cancer (GIST tumors surgically removed).
The new approval brings hope to the roughly 3,000 children each year who are diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The molecular basis for this is complex (the kids have a chromosome problem that lets proteins called tyrosine kinases stimulate bone marrow to release too many immature white blood cells) and the danger is a rapidly progressive cancer.
70 % of the higher dose (combination therapy) children didn't die or have a relapse in 4 years (event free survival)--truely great news in this challenging disease.
The full report is on the FDA web site and the maker of the drug is Novartis. Some weeks, Friday is a day for wonderful news.