Connect with us

Local News

CML cancer survivor shares his story in Arkansas



Little Rock, Arkansas – At a free lecture conducted today at the Walton Auditorium, Mel Mann, a retired U.S. Army major and 32-year chronic myeloid leukemia survivor, spoke to cancer patients, caregivers, and medical professionals.

Due to his inability to identify a bone marrow donor, Mann was diagnosed with CML, a rare cancer of the white blood cells, in 1995 and was given only three years to live.

He was the second person in the hundreds to participate in the Phase 1 clinical trial of the life-saving medication Gleevec in 1998.

Due to its 89% survival rate, Gleevec is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for CML and has become the norm since the FDA approved it in 2001.

This represents a significant increase from the 30% of patients who survived for only five years after receiving a CML diagnosis before the advent of Gleevec.

The first tyrosine kinase inhibitor to receive FDA approval is Gleevec, or “imatinib” as it is known chemically.

With the assistance of his medication, Mann’s cancer is still in remission, and he tours the country sharing his experience with the disease.

He is a supporter of giving clinical trials considerable consideration, particularly in African American areas where they are less prevalent.

“I am Exhibit A of why patients should consider clinical trials,” he said. “I saw clinical trials as a chance to get tomorrow’s medicine today.”

The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute’s director, Michael Birrier, M.D., Ph.D., recognizes the significance of Mann sharing his story in Arkansas for the organization as they look for innovative therapy trials for their cancer patients.

“We have the only academic Phase 1 Clinical Trial Unit in Arkansas and are actively testing many novel treatments that are helping patients who have failed standard treatments,” said Birrer.

Contact the UAMS Cancer Clinical Trials Office at 501-686-8288 or send an email to [email protected] for further information.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *