December 20, 2008 / 1:29 AM / 11 years ago

CORRECTED - US OKs Novartis Gleevec to reduce recurring cancer

(Corrects spelling of drug in headline and throughout story to Gleevec from Gleevac)

WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - U.S. health regulators have approved Novartis’ NOVN.VX drug Gleevec to reduce the risk of cancer recurring in patients with a rare type of stomach cancer, Novartis said on Friday.

Gleevec is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a severe type of cancer that recurs in as many as one of two patients.

Now Gleevec has been approved by the FDA for post surgery treatment of adult patients following complete surgical removal of the tumors, Novartis said.

Gleevec has been on the market since 2001 and is also used to treat some forms of leukemia, cancer that arises in the white blood cells, and other cancers of the blood cells. (Reporting by Rachelle Younglai)

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