San Diego: Early results from a pivotal trial of Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc`s experimental leukemia drug ponatinib show it is effective in nearly half of patients who had stopped responding to currently available drugs.An interim look at the study, presented here at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology, shows that 47 percent of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients with chronic-phase disease had a major response to ponatinib, meaning that at least two-thirds of their bone marrow was normal.Thirty-nine percent of those patients achieved complete remission of their leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow.The trial involves 449 patients -- the interim results are from 392 subjects -- who had stopped responding to treatment with Sprycel, sold by Novartis AG, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co`s Tasigna.Both of these older drugs, respectively known generically as dasatinib and nilotinib, are members of a class called tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
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