Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a clonal myeloproliferative disease resulting from an aberrant BCR.ABL gene and protein. To predict BCR.ABL protein abundance and phosphorylation in individual cells in a population of CML cells, we modelled BCR.ABL protein regulation through associated miRNAs using a systems approach. The model rationalizes the level of BCR.ABL protein heterogeneity in CML cells in correlation with the heterogeneous BCR.ABL mRNA levels. We also measured BCR.ABL mRNA and BCR.ABLp phosphorylation in individual cells. The experimental data were consistent with the modelling results, thereby partly validating the model. Provided it is tested further, the model may be used to support effective therapeutic strategies including the combined application of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor and miRNAs targeting BCR.ABL. It appears able to predict different effects of the two types of drug on cells with different expression levels and consequently different effects on the generation of resistance. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.