Novartis has announced positive results for Tasigna (nilotinib), a treatment for newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

Findings presented at the 14th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) in Berlin, Germany showed Phase II data to demonstrate that Tasigna rapidly removes detectable cancer cells in 96% of patients in 12 months.

The research compared Tasigna against historical Glivec (imatinib) data in the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukaemia (Ph+ CML).

Tasigna also achieves a rapid and deep reduction of the abnormal protein that causes a life-threatening type of leukaemia in the majority of patients at 12 months, as compared to historical Glivec data.

The company expects to complete the Phase III head-to-head registration trial evaluating Tasigna vs Glivec in newly diagnosed patients in early 2010.