Checking leukaemia

In people suffering a common form of leukaemia, certain chromosome abnormalities in cancer cells could help predict how quickly the disease will progress. This is the result of a study conducted in Germany, says a Reuters report dated December 27, 2000. The cancer is known as B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and is the most common type of leukaemia in adults. To determine whether chromosomal abnormalities can be used to predict how quickly leukaemia progresses, researchers at the University of Ulm analysed the DNAof 325 leukaemia patients. They used a particluar technique that detects abnormalities in the chromosome. The technique is more effective that tests employed at present as it picks up many more aberrations. Chances of survival among patients of this leukaemia varies greatly from person to person. While some people die within a few months of diagnosis, others survive for 20 years or more. Predicting a patient's survival chances is as crucial as it is difficult, especially because cancer patients need to plan their lives according to their chances.

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