Interferon is natural to the body. Research (above) shows that use of interferon before TKI start and then following TKI cessation leads to a much higher rate of TKI (Gleevec) cessation success - as high as 84%.
I wish I was started on Interferon first. There is a strong correlation that patients (our Susan is one) who had Interferon first followed by Gleevec and then stopped therapy after achieving MMR or below remained treatment free. It is a super high percentage that succeed this way vs. Gleevec alone.
It's exciting that research is moving in the direction of managing CML via various cessation, drug reduction and careful monitoring than just one size fits all - i.e. full dose - take every day for the rest of your life approach.
Trey has been PCRU for a very long time (> than two year minimum for cessation attempts) and now takes 200 mg Gleevec for "maintenance". I do wonder if switching over to Interferon alpha2 would be just as good but without the Gleevec side effects.