Genes Linked to Leukemia Discovered
Scientists have recently discovered several genes that may be responsible for the development of leukemia among patients, or at least increase the identification of those predisposed to the condition.
According to research published in an issue of the New Scientist, there may be eight genes that will determine if an individual develops leukemia. The study was completed at Washington University in St. Louis by a team of researchers who used "developed sequencing methods to look at the entire genome of cells from an acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) tumor and from the patient's skin, which helped narrow down and identify 10 varying genes between the tissues."
The researchers were then able to pinpoint two previously identifiable cancer-causing genes and eliminate them from the study. Then, the researchers identified three of the genes out of the eight and found them as having been tumor-suppressors. Tumor-suppressors genes cause cells that have been damaged to die off, which is also known as apoptosis or senescence, and because of this, cell populations cannot replenish, thus causing weakness of the body and the development of cancers such as leukemia.
The research is considered breakthrough and may lead to the development of more treatments as well as better-equipped screening processes and highlight potential candidate’s who may be at a higher risk of developing the cancer.
What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is described as a “malignant disease of the bone marrow and blood,” according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which also describes the cancer as divided into four various categories including the following.
* ( Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
* ( Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
* ( Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
* ( Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Leukemia Causes, Signs and Symptoms
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society all four varieties of the disease begin within a cell in the bone marrow, which “undergoes a leukemic change and multiplies into many cells.” Each type of leukemia is characterized by “the rate at which leukemia progresses and how the cells replace the normal blood and marrow cells.” However, there are common types of risk factors that are associated with leukemia including the following:
* ( tobacco smoke
* ( radiation therapy when used during other cancer treatments
* ( chronic benzene exposure
* ( genetic diseases including down syndrome
* ( chemotherapy treatments and exposures to high doses of radiation therapy
Diagnosing leukemia can be difficult at times because of the similarities of leukemia signs and symptoms to other types of conditions and illnesses, but, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society described the following symptoms to watch for if a patient feels they may have the disease.
* ( fatigue, tiredness, lack of energy
* ( shortness of breath, difficulty breathing during physical activity
* ( pale skin
* pinhead-sized red spots that appear just under the skin
* ( joint and bone aches, pains
* ( low white cell counts
* ( black and blue marks or bruises that appear with no cause or reason
* ( fever or night sweats
Smoking Cessation Drugs
While there are an array of factors involved in the development of leukemia, smoking is one of the top causes that can be prevented if smoking cessation occurs among the types of leukemia. There are an array of smoking cessation drugs available in the United States for the 43.4 million American adults that were reportedly smokers in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has issued the following list of cancers and conditions as linked to individuals who smoke:
* ( stomach
* ( pancreas
* ( kidney
* ( cervix
* ( bladder
((A plethora of smoking-cessation aids and drugs currently exist to assist smokers in quitting, but when some of these drugs also offer unintended and severe side effects, it becomes important for individuals to know what they are consuming, whether a drug is prescribed by a physician or available over-the-counter at the local grocery store.
One example of a dangerous smoking cessation drug is Chantix, which is a prescription medication. Chantix has been associated with serious side effects ranging from depression and moodiness to suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have looked into the Chantix risks but have deemed the smoking cessation aid safe enough to remain on the market for the time being. Chantix patients who have been negatively impacted by the drug are encouraged to speak with a pharmaceutical attorney for a free legal consultation on the potential for participating in a Chantix class action lawsuit that may offer a return of monetary compensation to assist a victim with psychiatric or additional medical bills or conditions caused by the prescription cessation drug Chantix.
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