FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. and PORTLAND, Ore., June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS ) and MolecularMD Corp. today announce the launch of a personalized medicine program for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. Through this program, Medco will offer patients diagnosed with CML a molecular test known as qRT-PCR (quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction) BCR-ABL to monitor the disease.
The current standard treatment for CML patients is tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy, which has demonstrated broad and robust efficacy as a targeted cancer treatment. Three TKIs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for first-line therapy including imatinib (Gleevec®), dasatinib (Sprycel®) and nilotinib (Tasigna®).
The TKIs directly inhibit the activity of a genetically-altered BCR-ABL protein to suppress the cancer's growth. qRT-PCR BCR-ABL molecular diagnostic testing is used by physicians to measure molecular response and indicate potential resistance to TKI therapy. Documenting BCR-ABL levels prior to initiation of therapy and then monitoring levels during treatment allows patients and their doctors to determine how well the medicine is working for them, and make adjustments as warranted.
"MolecularMD's test has been employed extensively in late phase pivotal clinical trials of second generation TKIs to help demonstrate improved patient response," said Dr. Jane Barlow, vice president, Clinical Innovation, of Medco. "Using this molecular test regularly to determine if a patient is exhibiting the appropriate response to the drug can help ensure better clinical outcomes for the patient and reduce overall healthcare costs for the health plan."
MolecularMD's qRT-PCR BCR-ABL