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Study reveals the trail of mutations leading to leukemia

By Sharon Kingman
Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
LONDON – Sequencing the genomes of cells from patients with childhood leukemia has allowed scientists to pinpoint the sequence and type of mutations that lead to this disease. Perversely, the study showed that some of the mutations that lead to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is the commonest of all childhood cancers, affect genes that normally help the immune system to develop effectively. Forty years ago, ALL was lethal; today, almost all children with the common subtype can be cured, although new treatments would be welcome as the existing ones are toxic.

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