Leukemia Researcher Featured in Live Internet Chat

02/14/00    Portland, Ore.

Brian Druker will discuss breakthrough leukemia pill featured on ABC's 20/20

Brian Druker, M.D., an oncologist and medical researcher at Oregon Health Sciences University, will be featured in a live Internet chat session on ABCNews.com Monday, Feb. 14 from 1 - 1:30 p.m. Pacific time. Druker has spent the past ten years developing a pill that halts and reverses the molecular cause of chronic myelogenous leukemia. After testing the pill for nearly two years on patients with advanced stages of the disease, Druker and Novartis Pharmaceuticals have recently entered phase two testing at 19 medical sites in the United States and Europe.

Unlike chemotherapy, which kills both normal and abnormal cells as a way of eliminating cancer, the compound STI-571 targets an enzyme found only in the leukemia cells. In phase one testing, Druker tested 31 patients at the effective dose and all 31 had their blood counts return to normal. In four patients, all signs of the molecular abnormality causing the disease have disappeared.

Druker was featured in an in-depth story on ABC's newsmagazine 20/20 this past Friday, Feb. 11. The story focused on Druker's career, how he developed the drug and the lives of several patients who have been taking the drug in clinical trials.