News of the WeekCancer Research

Why Some Leukemia Cells Resist STI-571

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Science  22 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5525, pp. 2231-2233
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5525.2231a

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The antileukemia drug known as Gleevec or STI-571 has been heralded as the vanguard of a new generation of cancer chemotherapy agents, designed specifically to counteract the biochemical changes that make cells cancerous. Yet STI-571 shares an unfortunate characteristic with older, conventional drugs. Patients with advanced disease often relapse; their tumor cells become resistant and eventually grow out of control. Results published online by Science on 21 June ( now explain why this happens in STI-571, and perhaps point the way to improved therapies.