Today, leukemia patients who have struggled with cancer therapy resistance and intolerance will now have more options thanks to targeted drug therapy. Such new treatment options are due, in part, to a rapid increase in journal and patent publications following the discovery of Gleevec, as reported by Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world's authority for chemical information.
Since President Clinton announced that the draft sequence of the human genome was completed in 2000, research about specific types of cancers grew exponentially. Fifty years of cancer and Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) drug treatments are examined in the CAS Chemistry Research Report: Human Genome Discoveries Spur Growth of Cancer Treatments. CAS researchers confirmed that Gleevec succeeded as a first-generation drug that targeted CML, as originally reported by Novartis and Oregon Health and Science researchers. Second- and third-generation CML-targeted drugs benefited from Gleevec's patent success and continued to propel the growth of CML research and patent publications.
Other important findings from the CAS report include:
- During the last 20 years, cancer therapy journal publications grew 179 percent, while patent publications grew 318 percent.
- From 1990 to 2009, journal article publications about CML treatment expanded 196 percent. At the same time, patent publications exploded with 700 percent growth.
- The World Intellectual Patent Organization (WIPO) is the leading patent authority for Gleevec use in CML.
- U.S. researchers authored three times as many journal publications for Gleevec as any other country.
- In 2009, second-generation drugs Tasigna and Sprycel displaced Gleevec as single medications for CML, with a combined 41-fold increase in journal publications and a concomitant increase in patent publications compared to Gleevec.
"The results of the analysis outlined in the CAS Chemistry Research Report further validate that we are on the right course," said Dr. Brian Druker, Director, Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute. "The accelerated growth in CML-related publications following Gleevec provides yet more evidence that the targeting approach opened up new paths of exploration for the medical and scientific communities. Based on this success we are now optimistic that all cancers could be controlled with drugs like Gleevec."