Longest Living Person to Receive Gleevec for Leukemia Shares Advice

Mel Mann, the longest living person who participated in the clinical trial for Gleevec – which was approved by the FDA just over 20 years ago – shares what he would tell his younger self.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gleevec (imatinib), a landmark chemotherapy drug for the treatment of leukemia, on May 10, 2001. This year marks the approval’s 20-year anniversary, and leukemia survivor Mel Mann, MBA, M.Ed, reflected on his experience in an interview with CURE®.

Mann shared what he would have told his younger self, before knowing that Gleevec would change the course of his life.

“It's always possible that a miracle drug can be invented because it happens with the drugs that we have these days,” Mann said. “And then throughout history, certain drugs come along that changed history, and Gleevec is one of those drugs. And you never know what type of drugs can be invented.”

Transcription:

I would say to my younger self, ‘Don't give up. There’s always hope. No one knows the future. So just hang in there and do the best that you can each day. Live every day because you don't know who's working on what and what's going to happen. It's always possible that a miracle drug can be invented because it happens with the drugs that we have these days. And then throughout history certain drugs come along that changed history. And Gleevec is one of those drugs. And you never know what type of drugs can be invented. And to hang in there, because you could be on one drug, but that drug can get you to live long enough to get on another drug until eventually, you get on the drug that really saves your life. So don't give up and try all your options, because there might be more options than you think that there are.’ And I would say, ‘Do research. Become your own advocate.’

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