9 March 2015 (Monday) - Leukaemia

Here’s something of note….

McKerrell T, Park N, et al.. Leukemia-associated somatic mutations drive distinct patterns of age-related clonal hemopoiesis. Cell Reports. 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.02.005

At college we were told that if we lived long enough we’d get leukaemia; it was inevitable. Or so said our lecturers. Now it would seem they were right.
Comparing their findings with other research, the team concluded that the incidence of pre-leukemic cells in the general population is not only far higher than previously thought but also increases with age. "Leukemia results from the gradual accumulation of DNA mutations in blood stem cells, in a process that can take decades," said Dr McKerrell. "Over time, the probability of these cells acquiring mutations rises. What surprised us was that we found these mutations in such a large proportion of elderly people."

This study helps us understand how aging can lead to leukemia, even though the great majority of people will not live long enough to accumulate all the mutations required to develop the disease… but as medicine improves so people live longer…

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