Gleevec for pain
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have found a potential new use for Novartis AG's Gleevec imatinib cancer drug-reducing tolerance to opioid analgesics.1 Gleevec prevented and reversed morphine tolerance in rats, but it is still unclear whether the molecule's safety profile would be suitable for the pain indication.
Novartis is not pursuing the new indication, but the academics are pressing forward and plan to submit an IND for a reformulated version of the drug within the next year.
Opioid analgesics, including morphine, lose potency over time as patients become tolerant to the analgesic effects, resulting in the need for higher doses. This may