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Newly identified genes may help predict outcome in childhood leukemia

cause physicians still need to better predict therapeutic responses," said Ronald Hoffman, M.D., President of the American Society of Hematology. "While we can already use a combination of chemotherapy and post-therapeutic treatments to help most children with ALL achieve remission, it is still difficult to know which patients will experience a relapse in the disease when they become resistant to the therapy. Hopefully the identification of new genes will help hematologists more accurately treat patients."

Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells that starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the blood, lymph nodes, and other organs. Both children and adults can develop leukemia, which is a complex disease with many different types and sub-types. The kind of treatment given and the outlook for childhood leukemia vary greatly according to the exact type and other individual factors. In acute leukemia the cells grow rapidly and are not able to mature properly. According to the National Cancer Institute, the vast majority of children diagnosed with leukemia have an acute form of the disease. Leukemias account for more than 30 percent of childhood cancers in children younger than 15 years old; three-fourths of those cases are ALL. The disease is not known as an inherited type, but there is evidence that it tends to cluster in families with high incidences of cancer.


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Contact: Aimee Frank
amf@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
American Society of Hematology
7-Dec-2003


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