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Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care.

Making the Decision to Have Targeted Therapy for CML

Most people with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) get targeted therapy. Targeted cancer therapies use drugs to destroy or slow the growth of leukemia cells. One benefit of these drugs is that they leave most healthy cells alone. They do this by targeting a specific molecular change in a leukemia cell. The specific change is one that fuels the growth and spread of the leukemia. Because they spare most healthy tissues, targeted therapies tend to cause fewer and less severe side effects than some other treatments. Gleevec (imatinib) is the targeted therapy most commonly used for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It attacks cells that carry the Philadelphia chromosome.