Childhood leukaemia distinct from adult disease

Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), one of the major causes of death in children. The breakthrough research, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences, published in Nature Communications, significantly advances understanding of the disease and provides potential for developing specific treatment strategies for this childhood cancer, which is currently treated with therapies extrapolated from adult practice.

Acute myeloid leukaemia is one of the most aggressive types of blood cancer that affects children and adults of all ages, and has the worst survival rates of all the leukaemias; for children with AML, relapse is often fatal. The researchers modelled AML in mice and demonstrated that AML is different in young cells compared to older cells. By analysing human paediatric AML samples, they discovered a ‘gene signature’ that highlighted immune system pathways. 

 

Previously, it was accepted that features of AML within the bone marrow apply to all AMLs, both paediatric and adult. Instead, the researchers found that the age of the original cell that becomes a leukaemia cell impacts on the nature of the disease that develops; young cells give rise to acute leukaemia with unique blood cell features and changes to the bone marrow environment that are distinct from the disease in adults.

 

 

Other news

Upcoming Events

Challenges in the clinical biochemistry laboratory and beyond

The Royal College of Pathologists
28 February 2019

British Society for Haematology 59th Annual Scientific Meeting

SEC Glasgow
1-3 April 2019

Focus 2019

SEC Glasgow
1-3 May 2019

Respiratory Microbiology - A Day of Inspiration

Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon
16 May 2019

Clinical and Laboratory Haemostasis 2019

The Atrium Conference Centre, Sheffield Hallam University
5-6 June 2019

Latest Issue

Pathology In Practice

Pathology In Practice

Feb 2019

Early disease detection: a collaborative approach

Register now to apply for regular copies of Pathology In Practice and free access to premium content, as well as our regular newsletters.