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In the 1980s, Prof. Eli Canaani isolated two genes that abnormally swap pieces of genetic material and lead to the production of a fused protein that triggers chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). It was the first discovery of cancer produced by protein fusion.
Canaani’s research provided the foundation for the development of Glivec (known as Gleevec in the US), the first drug based on the molecular understanding of a specific cancer. Produced by Novartis, it was approved in 2001 by the FDA and is now routinely prescribed around the world to patients with CML.