BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Could there be another reason?

From Chris Berwick's blog- White blood cells amongst red blood cells

Leukemia has always been a tough form of cancer to combat. It is the leading cancer found in children and can also be found in adults. Leukemia “is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow (which produces blood cells). A person who has leukemia suffers from an abnormal production of blood cells, generally leukocytes (white blood cells).”

In this specific case, long island doctor Steven Allen had a patient with cell leukemia. Cell leukemia is a rare form of leukemia and usually has fatal results within 6 months. Recently Dr. Allen’s patient died after just three months after she was diagnosed.

Cell leukemia is rarely treatable because most patients have a genetic mutation in a gene called KIT. This gene refutes any type of drug that is typically used on patients with leukemia. The phenomenon about Dr. Allen’s patient in particular case is that she did not have this genetic mutation on KIT, but her body still would not accept any drug, which resulted in her early death.

With her death came two discoveries that were ground breaking in the cure for leukemia. Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have found two other gene mutations that refute the other drugs that have recently been studied as a cure for people with mast cell leukemia with a mutation on the gene KIT.

While Dr. Allen remains confident that this is going to change the direction of cures for leukemia, his colleague said “We must reallykeep in mind this was a single case study and we have to follow it up with many other studies.” These studies will help  “prove the mutations are present in other patients.”

What still confuses me is: if these mutations are the cause of mast cell leukemia, are there other mutations we have not yet discovered in all other forms of  cancer. If this be the case how do we know that the drugs we are using are not just a waste of time. Maybe it would be better for doctors to understand all gene mutations leading to each persons specific type of cancer before rushing into one form of treatment that has worked on others. Besides aren’t all humans different?

photo credit: angleys82

Sources: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/li-researchers-make-leukemia-discovery-1.3400035

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/142595.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD117

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Previous

Vitamin D is linked to depression, so start sunbathing!

Next

Sharks prove evolution; hybrid shark.

2 Comments

  1. mum

    My dear daughter-in-law has just been diagnosed with mast cell leukemia, it was discovered a week before my grandson was due to be born, I hope this research will help her, if any one can tell us of anything which will help her case please post here thankyou.

  2. sar418

    This is really interesting to me, because I lost a family friend to leukemia two months ago. After watching the movie Gattaca in class, we got into discussion whether we would want to know our chances of having cancer and other diseases. While I myself, as of right now, wouldn’t want to know, it seems as if it is a good idea for some individuals. This is a test that tells participants about any formations of gene mutations. Which would be very useful in treating for cancer.http://www.futurity.org/health-medicine/single-test-for-many-cancer-mutations/

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Skip to toolbar