Imatinib is a drug used to treat certain cancers. It is marketed by Novartis asGleevec (USA) or Glivec (Europe/Australia/Latin America) as its mesylate salt, imatinib mesilate.
Imatinib is the first of a new class of drugs that act by specifically inhibiting a certain enzymethat is characteristic of a particular cancer cell, rather than non-specifically inhibiting and killing all rapidly dividing cells. Imatinib was a model for other targeted therapies that inhibited the class of enzymes, tyrosine kinases.
It is used in treating chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), gastrointestinal stromal tumors(GISTs) and some other diseases. By 2011, Gleevec has been FDA approved to treat ten different cancers.