Supporting Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Donors Charities.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Flemish Researcher Finds Leukaemia Gene in Half of Patients.
A Flemish researcher has made an important discovery in the war against acute leukaemia in children. Pieter Van Vlierberghe discovered a defective leukaemia gene carried by almost half those afflicted with the disease.
The discovery was published this week in the influential journal 'Nature Genetics'. Van Vlierberghe (39) made the discovery while working at the University of Ghent, just before his departure for a three-year stay at the prestigious Columbia University in New York. Further research is being undertaken into the discovery in both Ghent and in New York. The `leukaemia gene' appears to be on the X chromosome, of which males have one of and females two. This means that males with a problematic X chromosome do not have a backup 'copy', which explains why boys suffer more from leukaemia than girls. The acute form of leukaemia, or blood cancer, is a disease that mostly afflicts children and is much more aggressive than the forms that strike in adulthood. 'The traditional chemotherapy already provides an 80 percent chance of survival,' says Professor Frank Speleman of the Ghent team. 'This discovery is important for the 20 percent that still succumb to the disease. We are also keen to develop less aggressive forms of treatment, as chemotherapy has many side effects, such as growth retardation, teeth problems and so on. Chemotherapy increases chances of getting cancer later in life too.'
Het Laatste Nieuws /Oostkust ; Tuesday 16 March 2010 ; p.8 Editor in chief: Paul Daenen Address: Brusselsesteenweg 347 1730 Asse-Kobbegem Phone: +32 ()02/454.24.01 Circulation: 345877 ex.