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Leukemia: Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Wednesday, 16 Feb 2011 05:12 PM

Leukemia is an abnormal increase in white blood cells that causes a cancer of the bone marrow or blood. There are several types of leukemia classified based on the type of white blood cells, the type of increase, and the cancerous growth. Someforms of leukemia can be completely cured especially with early detection and treatment.

Extensive research is going on in this field of study and there have been several medical breakthroughs in recent years. Here are a few leukemia breakthroughs:

1. Research indicates that a drug called lenalidomide, an oral drug, is strong at fighting leukemia symptoms and has very mild side effects. This drug makes it tough for leukemia cells to survive. It is an FDA approved drug for leukemia and multiple myeloma that has also been found to be effective for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
2. An experimental drug, revlimid, has been found to be effective in treating pre-leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome. This drug blocks the growth of blood vessels and prevents nourishment of tumors. This drug is also found to stimulate the immune system in order to fight cancer cells.
3. A new risk model for myelodysplastic syndrome has been developed which provides survival projections to patients at any stage of leukemia.
4. A vaccine has been developed by British researchers to stop Leukemia from returning after treatment. After the patient has had treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia or lymphocytic leukemia and bone marrow transplant, this vaccine is given and it stops the leukemia from returning.
5. Scientists at charity Leukemia Busters of Southampton have found that a common white flower called baby's breath is effective in treating leukemia. The extracts from this flower are found to increase the efficiency of cancer fighting drugs by a million times. This discovery may lead to the formulation of more advanced drugs to treat leukemia symptoms and save millions of lives.
6. Several new molecular and protein markers have been identified. These can help treat certain types of leukemia faster and more effectively.
7. Hutchinson Center's Clinical Research Division has found that the stem/progenitor cells can be manipulated in the lab to increase their number. When this is injected into a person, the cells rapidly produce white blood cells and other important components of the blood system.

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