Rather than see bad news, researchers can find positive take away messages in last week's publication of findings showing the mechanisms of resistance to Novartis AG's recently approved Gleevec imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia.

First, the paper in Science showed the continued viability of the target pathway, led by the aberrant kinase Bcr-Abl, even among drug resistant patients. Second, it suggested that kinase-dependent cancers could be managed using combination therapies. And more generally, the work illustrated the speed at which the ability to elucidate mechanisms of action, track mutations and achieve other molecular insights might enable research to move forward.