What new drugs for CML are available?
Q: My father is suffering from CML (chronic myeloid leukaemia) from the past 5-6 years. Earlier, he was getting interferon 2 alpha injection from defence hospital, which are now stopped due to some reasons. Now he is on hydroxyurea two or three capsules per day depending on the WBC counts. He is diabetic and hypertensive. He had pneumonia last year, which has resolved now. He had some pus formation in his back twice. He has six brothers and one sister. Elder brother just had angina bypass. And everyone is diabetic and hypertensive. None in the family is suffering from cancer. I have heard about a new drug called imatinib M or zoleta; are they effective and is there any organisation which helps defence people to get this drug?
A:The person in question is a diagnosed case of CML who initially received injection interferon and is now on hydrea. The drug imatinib is available in India by multiple companies by name veenat / zoleta and costs around Rs. 10,000/ month. The international brand name gleevac (is commercially available in India and costs around Rs. 1,00,000/ month) is available to select patients under the GIPAP assistance programme of the Max Foundation. For enrollment into this programme there are certain pre-requisites and the enrollment can be done from any leading medical oncologist recognised by the Max Foundation for the purpose.