MONTREAL, Sept. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - CML Awareness Day is being marked
today, September 22, to celebrate the significant progress new
treatments have made in controlling a rare form of blood cancer,
chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
Today's special activities include a presentation of a stepping stone by
The CML Society of Canada to several pharmaceutical companies which
have participated in CML research and clinical trials, yielding
significant life prolonging benefits to CML patients around the world.
The symbolism of the stepping stones
The stepping stone is symbolic of the physical steps patients must
follow on their path to conquer CML. "We must not abdicate our
responsibilities as patients to advocate for ourselves and be engaged
through educating ourselves about CML, by participating in clinical
trials and partnering with our physicians, government and industry,"
says Cheryl-Anne Simoneau, President of the CML Society of Canada.
"Novartis Oncology Canada is delighted to accept the gift of the
stepping stone as it underscores our commitment to stay on the path
towards finding better treatments and supporting initiatives that may
lead to an eventual cure for CML," says Alain Dostie, Oncology General
Manager from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
Alain Boisvert, VP, Market Access from Bristol-Myers Squibb says, "The
stepping stone will be prominently displayed at our headquarters here
in Montreal as a visual reminder to all of our employees of our shared
goals and objectives for finding new treatments for CML."
"We are pleased to contribute financial support for research towards
finding new treatments to control CML and also be joining our
colleagues from Novartis Oncology and Bristol-Myers Squibb in this
important effort," says Richard Fajzel, General Manager at Pfizer
A stepping stone will also be presented to Joy Smith, MP Kildonan-St.
Paul and Chair - Standing Committee on Health in the House of Commons
in Ottawa. On September 22, 2008, The CML Society of Canada initiated
CML Awareness Day and met with Smith. In 2010, Smith publicly
acknowledged the work of The CML Society of Canada in the House of
Commons - a video clip of the historic occasion is viewable at www.cmlsociety.org.
Reflecting on significant cancer research
In 1959, scientists Peter Nowell and David Hungerford were analyzing
blood samples from CML patients and discovered an abnormal chromosome
in all of the specimens. By 1973, Dr. Janet Rowley, an MD and
researcher, discovered the abnormal chromosome was the result of an
exchange of genetic material between chromosomes 9 and 22. Further
research eventually led to targeted therapies such as Gleevec™,
Sprycel™ and Tasigna™ which control and, in many cases, took CML from a
deadly disease to a chronic, yet manageable illness.
The date of September 22 (09/22) represents the significance of the
chromosomal discovery and the harbinger of CML.
The CML Society of Canada, a not-for-profit patient education and
support organization, is cautioning that much more remains to be done.
"We are so close to possibly curing this disease; we need this victory
to carry over to all cancers. We believe that equitable access to
essential drugs is a fundamental right for all Canadians and we must
ensure that all patients' voices are heard," says Simoneau.
CML is one of four types of leukemia, cancer of the blood and bone
marrow. The disease is driven by a chromosomal abnormality, which is
acquired after birth and causes an overproduction of white blood cells.
A routine blood test is the first step in diagnosing and staging of the
disease. Newer targeted therapies are directed to the specific enzymes
that in turn controls the over proliferation of cancerous cells. The
majority of patients with CML achieve a high level of remission that is
maintained with continued therapy and close monitoring.
About the CML Society of Canada
Established in 2006, the CML Society provides support, education and
information on CML, current and emerging treatments and research
initiatives for people living with CML and their families. Through
these efforts and ongoing advocacy, the CML Society advances its
mission to help reduce suffering and improve care and the quality of
life of CML patients. For more information, please refer to www.cmlsociety.org.
SOURCE CML Society of Canada
For further information:
President and CEO
CML Society of Canada
Sans Frais/Toll Free: 1-866-931-5165